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Assange slams Clinton over 2016 election claims

The publisher of the WikiLeaks whistleblower website, Julian Assange, has hit out at 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for saying he was, to a large extent, responsible for her loss to Donald Trump.

Assange said that the ABC, which ran an interview with Clinton by a senior staffer, Sarah Ferguson, on Monday night on the ABC's Four Corners programme, had not offered him a right of reply.

Clinton described Assange as "a nihilistic opportunist" and "a tool of Russian intelligence".

When Four Corners producer Sally Neighbour responded, saying that Assange had been offered an interview on 19 September and he had not responded, Assange shot back: "We have no record of such a request but regardless it pre-dates your Hillary Clinton interview by weeks and cannot be a right of reply to it. It is deceptive to suggest otherwise."

Surprisingly, the interview ran in a slot allocated to a programme that is touted as the ABC's prime investigative production. But there was nothing investigative in the interview; rather, it was a soft exchange, which was extremely surprising given that Ferguson is known to be hard-nosed when it comes to such encounters.

But last night, Ferguson did not even once challenge assertions made by Clinton even as she blamed everyone in sight for her defeat – apart from herself.

Exactly why the ABC — which loves to claim that it is the one network that concentrates on hard news — chose to interview Clinton — who is basically yesterday's news — is unknown. The interview was touted as the first interview with Clinton by an Australian network. But then who else is lining up to interview a failed candidate who is still in denial about her loss?

The ABC also tried to push the interview as an exclusive – but there was nothing exclusive about it as Clinton traversed well-worn paths, blaming former FBI chief James Comey, misogyny. sexism, Trump and WikiLeaks for her defeat.

Clinton has already made numerous media appearances to push her book, What Happened, beginning on 30 June when she was interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of The Verge.

All these interviews are easily available online for anyone who cares to watch, so the ABC was not providing anything that is not accessible to those Australians who actually wish to see Clinton chew the same cud again and again.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.