Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Killing the messenger

I'm not surprised the American government would like to see Wikileaks shut down. What I'm surprised at is how easily non-government actors fall into line to help out.

Fundamentally, Wikileaks is a news gathering organization, and yes, a quarter million classified documents is news. Wikileaks didn't break confidentiality by publishing the documents, because they aren't required to hold these documents in confidence. Sure, the US government of the time wanted to keep the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, too, but life is filled with disappointments.

Now, as private organizations, Amazon and PayPal are under no obligation to help Wikileaks work, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask what principle Wikileaks has violated to earn this sort of exceptional scrutiny. I can't think of one, myself - they received confidential documents, and they're publishing them.

Anyway, they can continue to be found here. Twitter has proved extremely useful, as their opponents try to play hide and seek with the site, but since this is an IP rather than domain name, it should hold solid.

As for my title, well, some take it more literally than others.  Can you still collect a paycheck from the University of Calgary after advocating the murder of a newsman?  Apparently so.

1 comment:

bucknersc said...

As I'm sure you know the New York Times' motto is: "All the new that's fit to print." Certainly this must suggest to you that journalism involves some amount of discretion, discrimination, and interpretation. and not just "news-gathering". Prove to me that Wikileaks upholds these values. The website's very name suggests otherwise. What is Wikileaks' motto?

Your argument that Wikileaks is not required to withhold publication of classified documents is troublesome. What if Wikileaks were provided a database of pilfered credit card information or health records, including yours. By your argument it would be fine if they published that information.

The Pentagon Papers comparison is really quite superficial, once you compare the motives of Daniel Ellsberg the NYT and WaPo, with Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. A more apt comparison of motives might be with the Bush Administration's outing of Valerie Plame.

All that said, keep up the good work.