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The Wiki is Leaking!

The morning’s Internet buzz centers on the White House reaction over WikiLeaks, the controversial three year old website (that’s been likened to media insurgency no less) who published Sunday evening more than 91,000 secret documents pertaining to U.S. military actions in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks, who collects and posts highly classified documents and video, was started by Melbourne born (go Aussies!) Julian Assange. The rogue Internet activist, self-described as the “editor-in-chief”, has been releasing documents and videos ranging from operating procedure at Guantanamo Bay, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account (oh boy!). What’s amazing is WikiLeaks has no paid staff, no copywriter and no office.

THE NEW YORKER profiled WikiLeak last month, and what Julian describes as his push for “full transparency.” What I found incredibly interesting amongst all of the hoopla this has caused, is the most crafty and unprecedented journalistic integrity check I’ve ever seen. Sort of the ultimate CALL TO ACTION for mainstream news if you will.

I’ll explain: yesterday evening, before the documents were published, WikiLeak provided the database of information to the New York Times, the German weekly Der Spiegel, and British publication The Guardian. Now, this was said by WikiLeak to be “in an (effort)….to reduce the risk of gagging by the authorities…

Okay, I can buy that. But does anyone else see what else they put into play here? It’s pretty darn savvy if you ask me. They basically threw down the gauntlet of journalistic integrity. By giving the information to the three publications, securely, preemptively and publicly, they basically dared them to ignore it. Dared them to report it inaccurately. Dared them to ignore the “position” That position: THE TRUTH.

Hmmm…we’ve all seen different arguments recently about how the Internet, while democratizing information, has also diluted the overall credibility and integrity of information. We just had a perfect example of this last week with the Shirley Sherrod debacle. I can certainly see arguments from both sides. The question remains, does a platform like WikiLeak, hurt or harm our efforts to have more truth and accountability in the media? We all know that nothing moves forward without a little competition right? But is this the right type of competition?

Check out this recent TED talk with Julian Assange about why he feels the world needs WikiLeaks.

All my best,

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Jay Kubassek

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  • Jay
    On balance I would rather have a site like WikiLeaks than none. If we are frank we know Politicians first credo is to cover their backs.

    As Assange said the interesting conclusion from reading the information is just how difficult it is to change what an army does once you have set it off. Similar to large corporations in many ways.

    Thanks for raising this important topic and the TED video.
    Andrew

  • A very, very interesting video. It really makes you sit up and take notice of what we are reading and viewing most days and ask the question, is this true?

    I think transparency in jounalism and the media is an absolute must, although I am unsure as to whether the ideal of transparency is maybe just an ideal? Which way will it go, as he says he is unsure, but a very interesting time indeed to be in.

    Alan

  • KT

    Wow, comforting to know people like Julian are out there making a difference. If Big Brother knows the people are capable of gathering and substantiating facts; then we the people have a chance of regaining our unalienable rights that were never given by man; therefore should never have been infringed upon by man. Glad you shared.

  • Islas

    Our government is not the greatest, but we do need them; however, the tables are turned and now Democracy will be viewing them according to how they REALLY conduct business. Julian simply demonstrated that we as people are not as stupid as we look. A perception that the government will have to officially accept and now conjure up some other “brilliant idea” that they seem to throw from time to time to the American people. If this is their idea of National Security, well they just got bagged. We as people can now believe that National Security will always be to the contrary of what they want us to believe. We need our government as I already said, but they too need to be “spyed on” if this is the only means to get the real truth out of them.

  • kathie

    It will be interesting to learn how some will now ‘cover’ their first credo.

    It may also give a newer meaning to the word “paranoid” and hopefully not cause any ‘scapegoats’ as the REAL TRUTH becomes more known among the masses.

    In any case, the old saying is … “Let the Truth PREVAIL”…. and prevail it will… How will this ‘story’ unfold? Any ideas!!

  • Chuck

    Wow! Im a little shocked at the above comments. What Wikileaks is doing can be very dangerous and wreckless. Do we all want more transparency? Of course we do. There is a right way to do things and a wrong way. The end does not justify the means. You caution us Jay, to be civil and use common sense in our forums, chats, and our marketing, etc. Divulging classified information is treason. Where has Mr. Assange been in exposing the most corrupt, racially divisive, socialist administration this country has ever seen? We are in danger of losing our freedoms and turning into a third world socialist nation and this man finds time to bash our military like most liberals do. They spit on the very people that give the ultimate sacrifice to provide the wonderful lifestyle and opportunities this great nation provides.

  • Chuck

    Has Mr. Assange done any work at all exposing Mr. Obama’s radical ties and upbringing? I will have to research that. Jay, you mentioned he’s posted Sarah Palin’s private emails.Wasn’t that obtained illegaly to begin with? This man is a coward, not a hero. I would love to find his personal emails and post them. This is just another form of propaganda coming from the left to advance their socialist progressive ways. Has he done any work at all exposing the lack of true journalism on the part of the mainstream media?

  • I most certainly agree that journalistic integrity is a must; however I do not believe that gives journalists the license to publish something that could potentially harm the nation. Journalists have lost sight of common sense!

  • Elise

    I am surprised that so many people appear to suddenly believe that they are being lied to by our government, politicians, and the media after listening to Assange. I’m not saying we aren’t being lied to, but to change one’s opinion because a man who admitted he doesn’t check the source of his information said we should believe his information is the truth, is probably naive. He admitted his purpose is to bring about reform. Who is he to say what reform the world needs? Does that not make him as “bad” as all the rest of those he is accusing of lying and hiding information? The purpose of the media is to INform, not reform.

    He claimed in the video that he doesn’t release information that would harm people, but his latest release of classified US documents is already endangering, and maybe even costing, lives. We will probably never know the real cost.

    Finally, to say that a picture of one US service man laughing at a dead body is representative of all servicemen and women, US or not, is absurd. To imply that this is what US servicemen are like, and to then ignore all the good being done to build roads and bridges and pipelines and schools is irresponsible. Along with journalistic integrity comes moral responsibility.

    Elise

  • Vic

    If that WAS the CIA calling were they trying to make sure there boy was not straying too far off the script?
    Who really originated and funds Wikileaks?

  • Dabneycogdell

    Oh WOW!