The government says Bradley Manning helped Al Qaeda when he revealed information about civilian casualties. By that logic, didn't George W. Bush do a lot more by causing those casualties?
The New York Times reports that Wikileaks' "journalistic reputation was…undercut by two prominent articles published by the New York Times." But if anyone's journalistic reputation was hurt by those articles, it was the Times'.
The stories that came out due to the information Bradley Manning allegedly leaked have been explosive, front page news. But his trial? Not so much. And Maria Bartiromo told Meet the Press that tax increases on the wealthy are really tax increases for everyone. And why was a Starbucks $450 gift card front page news at USA Today– right underneath a stirring piece about poverty? FAIR TV breaks it down:
(UPDATE: Today's Times includes a story about the WikiLeaks Iraq cable, under the somewhat strange headline "Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians." Still very little in the rest of the press– nothing on television, according to a search of the Nexis database). One of the main media tropes regarding WikiLeaks' release of State Department cables last year was that there was either nothing new to be learned, or that private conversations they revealed were remarkably consistent with what U.S. officials were saying publicly. That was totally misleading, but for many pundits the story seemed to end there. Now […]
The long 60 Minutes segment on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from last night (1/30/11) is definitely worth a look. But this set-up from correspondent Steve Kroft was certainly odd: Julian Assange is not your average journalist or publisher, and some have argued that he is not really a journalist at all. He is an anti-establishment ideologue with conspiratorial views. He believes large government institutions use secrecy to suppress the truth and he distrusts the mainstream media for playing along. Assange believes the government keeps important secrets? And that mainstream media play along? That is kooky.
According to NPR ombud Alicia Shepard (12/30/10), one very persistent letter writer named Henry Norr managed to get NPR to correct an error made several times by different programs–that WikiLeaks "published" the many thousands of State Department cables in its possession. The site has actually published few of them– less than 2,000. Shepard wrote: On Dec. 21, I sent Norr's 9 examples to NPR top editors and asked that a staff memo be sent out reminding everyone to be more careful in talking about the November document release. The memo went out on Christmas Eve. Still Norr was (rightly) not […]
Washington Post columnistDana Milbank (12/19/10) derides WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for being "insufferable"–apparently because he emerged from prison talking about prisonconditions. Milbank sarcastically noted, "As if nine days in an English jail fighting extradition to Sweden on sex charges made him a regular Nelson Mandela." You can decide for yourself whether that's insufferable. (Assange said, "I had time to reflect on the conditions of those people around the world also in solitary confinement, also on remand, in conditions that are more difficult than those faced by me. Those people also need your attention and support." Milbank ended this quote after […]
Today's New York Times (12/20/10) brings the latest from the WikiLeaks cables, an interesting piece about how Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) went to Honduras after the coup to praise the new government and hopefully arrange business deals for his friends. Unfortunately the Times bungles the story of the coup itself: Honduras had grabbed international headlines starting in June 2009, when its president at the time, Manuel Zelaya, was detained and then sent into exile, based on a fear by other elected officials there that he was scheming to remain in office despite a one-term limit in Honduras' Constitution. Mr. Rohrabacher, […]
One recently released WikiLeaks cable stated that Cuban officials had banned Michael Moore's healthcare documentary Sicko. Critics of Moore's work pounced, delighted thata film that spent timepointingoutthat Cuba's national system has some merits would be banned in thatcountry. The problem is that… well, it wasn't.Which is something that anyone could have known if they'd done a moment of factchecking.Like Michael Moore did (though, to be fair, he probably knew this stuff without having to check): Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem–Sicko had just been playing in Cuban theaters. Then the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on […]
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman attempts to offer up some measure of support for WikiLeaks today (12/15/10): I read many WikiLeaks and learned some useful things. But their release also raises some troubling questions. I don't want to live in a country where they throw whistleblowers in jail. That's China. But I also don't want to live in a country where any individual feels entitled to just dump out all the internal communications of a government or a bank in a way that undermines the ability to have private, confidential communications that are vital to the functioning of any […]
One gets the impression, reading the New York Times' coverage of the WikiLeaks cables, that the paper is particularly interested in documents that portray the State Department in a good light, struggling to do good in a world that continually resists its efforts. Take today's front-page piece (12/7/10), "America Prods and Protests But Can't Halt Arms Trade." The piece, by Michael Gordon and Andrew Lehren, details "the United States' efforts to prevent buildups of arms…in some of the world's tensest regions." The piece does include an acknowledgment that "the United States is the world's largest arms supplier, and with Russia, […]
New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane wrote a response (of a sort) to the criticisms that the paper's reporting on Iranian missiles was fundamentally flawed. It's hard to believe thathis column was meant be taken seriously. To review: The Times published a story, based ona WikiLeaks cable,onNovember 29 alleging that Iran possesses powerful missiles with "the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe." The Times kept the cable off its website, but it was available on the WikiLeaks site. The cable showed that these were not facts, but U.S. claims–and weak ones at that, to the point where […]