Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shooting the messenger

I haven't paid much attention to the WikiLeaks controversy. I'm well aware that legitimate and sensitive international diplomacy can be ruined by exposure. However, Glenn Greenwald in Salon made a few observations that caught my attention (thanks to my friend and debate partner who sent the article to me). According to Greenwald…

WikiLeaks uncovered actual crimes perpetrated by military and government officials. These crimes reveal an alarming amount of brutality.

The media are in an uproar, of course. But they are not upset over the crimes (which are ignored). Rather their anger is directed towards WikiLeaks for revealing them. Prosecute the messenger, not the criminal. This sounds the same as the anti-gay organizations who were tagged by the SPLC as hate groups.

The media is pushing a contradictory message: The leaks reveal nothing. The leakers have done great harm to national security.

One expects government officials (the perpetrators, or at least the ones with something to hide) to push the idea that the messenger is the one who should be punished. But journalists are just as loud with that same message. We've lost something big when the journalists side with the corruption against the messenger. The job of the journalist used to be to expose the corruption. I'll let you ponder what it means when the news media becomes the mouthpiece of the government.

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