*Biggest in terms of media attention they have received, not necessarily the most important at either an immediate or protracted scale.
But the two cases could also not be more different. In the first, an almost unheard of nobody took information that was leaked to him for free, which was of obvious public interest and revealed the double standards, corruption and abuses of power associated with some of the most world's most powerful polities. In the second, a household name and one of the most powerful people in the world owning and leading the world's largest media group was in charge of a newspaper in which a significant culture of double standards, corruption and abuse of power was rife, and which systematically stole and paid bribes for information that was very frequently not in the public interest from thousands of individuals and which was published for titillation and profit. The first, for all his faults, was holding power to account for its manifold abuses. The second, for all his strengths, is responsible for an immensely powerful organisation guilty of manifold abuses, repeatedly denied and (allegedly) illegally suppressed (and he apparently pays no tax). And yet some continue to compare or conflate the two as though they are both simply stories about "illegal hacking".
The outcomes in each case could also not be more different. Julian Assange was quickly labelled a terrorist, pressure from the US government on PayPal, Mastercard and Visa cut off WikiLeaks' funding, there were widespread calls - even from senior US politicians - for his assassination, he was condemned by his own Prime Minister without trial and, ironically, Murdoch media joined in and helped magnify the character assassination on multiple continents. Yet, as far as I am aware, none of those whose abuses he revealed have been charged or resigned. In contrast, so far, Rupert Murdoch has had his next plaything taken away, fielded some embarrassing questions, received professional PR advice to eat humble pie, and taken another kind of pie in the face. Arrests and resignations continue to happen to other people. If we take his repeated professions of ignorance at face value, then my conclusion is that a corporation that has grown too large for the boss to take responsibility for a culture of systematic abuses within it is a corporation that is too large. Julian Assange is not the Messiah; Rupert Murdoch is far more than just a naughty boy.
Image by ALS.