Yesterday, LGBT journalist James Kirchick, who was working for Russian news network RT, caused a scene in the middle of a news segment. During a discussion about Bradley Manning's sentencing for his leaking of documents to Wikileaks, Kirchick suddenly went into an impassioned tirade about Russia's recently passed anti-LGBT laws, which drove RT to cut him off and kick him off the air. At first glance, this seems to be a spontaneous display of protest against Russia's laws. However, looking into Kirchick, we discover that his stunt was covering something sinister and hypocritical: James Kirchick's equally passionate article calling for Bradley Manning's execution.
Kirchick's opinion article, written shortly after Manning's conviction on espionage charges, is titled "Bradley Manning gets off easy," and comes with the following subheader:
His treason jeopardized American lives. The punishment should be death.
Kirchick spends the majority of the article claiming Bradley Manning to be a traitor to the American people, and implied that he should be executed, preferably by electric chair. This comes despite Manning being acquitted of the primary charge, aiding the enemy, which is a step below treason in United States law. He even goes out of his way to criticize Manning's supporters:
While Manning’s defenders decry the U.S. for “persecuting” a “whistleblower,” they should be thanking military prosecutors for not seeking capital punishment for Manning’s capital crimes.
Putting aside several of the problems with James Kirchick's article—such as a complete misunderstanding of treason as a crime and ignoring Julian Assange's gross incompetency in handling the diplomatic cables at the center of Manning's trial which lies at the heart of his accusations—let us look at the basic point: James Kirchick wanted Bradley Manning execution. When Kirchick went on RT that day, he was facing a crowd that would likely discuss Bradley Manning's situation, and quite possibly his article.
James Kirchick admittedly faced a very awkward position: He, as a leading gay journalist, would have to explain why he wanted a gay MTF transgendered person (which Bradley Manning revealed himself to be today) dead for the charge of treason. Kirchick would have to do so, also knowing that Manning's gender dysmorphia played a role in leaking cables and other documents to Wikileaks. Furthermore, he is doing so on RT, run by the Russian government.
In a tough bind, a sensible decision would have been to stay away from the TV studio, and keep one's personal opinions inside. But James Kirchick, for whatever reason, decided it was a good idea to go on air, and when it came time to discuss Manning, he ducked out of his responsibilities by launching into that tirade, which had no meaning in that segment. If anything, as journalists, we should call out Kirchick for what he is: A rank hypocrite.
(Media Sources: RT, James Kirchick)