Thursday, January 06, 2011

Is the problem with journalism just stupidity?

Guy writing in the Guardian complains about the complete lack of journalistic ethics displayed by Wikileaks in the publication of a cable on Zimbabwe, a cable published first - even before Wikileaks itself! -  in the . . . um . . . Guardian:
"The only problem? It wasn't Wikileaks who originally published that cable. It was The Guardian itself, who not only published the document prior to Wikileaks, but also admits that it, not Wikileaks or Assange, chose which cables to publish and when. It did alert Wikileaks to what it was going to publish, but the release and publication of this document was done by The Guardian - the very same publication that Richardson then used to slam Wikileaks for supposedly being the one to create the problems in Zimbabwe. Oops.

Of course, Richardson is not a reporter. He's a well-connected political operative in the US, with ties to politicians who have been attacking Wikileaks. He ran online communications for the RNC during John McCain's presidential campaign. So it's pretty clear that there are ulterior motives in bashing Wikileaks, but it's quite ironic that he chose The Guardian as his publication of choice to do so, since they're actually the ones that broke the particular story. Will Richardson now write a similar piece suggesting The Guardian has blood on its hands?

Even more to the point is an analysis by Charles Homans, at Foreign Policy magazine, who notes that Mugabe has had it in for Tsvangirai for years anyway -- and that "Tsvangirai has been variously arrested, beaten, tortured, thrown from a 10th-floor window, and involved in a suspicious collision with a truck that claimed his wife's life" in just the last decade or so. The idea that this one leak is what really created problems in Zimbabwe is laughable. Mugabe has been plotting against this guy for ages, and would use any possible excuse to attack him again. The problem here is not Wikileaks. It's not The Guardian. It's an unstable country with a man in Robert Mugabe who likes to crush any political opposition. To try to pin that all on Wikileaks is beyond misleading and desperate. It's just plain deceitful."
"Judith Miller Responds To Backlash Over Assange Comments" When you are in a hole, even a hole created by a desire to search for your mythical weapons of mass destruction, the best advice is to stop digging.
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