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August 21, 2010

Comments

Mike

I question the value of WikiLeaks in the first place. There is a need for full disclosure in our corporate dominated world but sites like WikiLeaks only give us a slice of the truth, not the whole truth. Stop and think and you'll realize this is what happened to Shirley Sherrod. Nothing in the tape was a lie but skillful release of just parts of the whole misrepresented her horribly.
The same with WikiLeaks. What is being represented by the release of specific documents? What's the background? What was the impact of the original document?
I'm not defending the military but if we demand the truth we need to be willing to look beyond the surface and see what all of this really means.

Bruce A Jacobs

There has always been a difference between whistle-blowers -- who release specific information to create public scrutiny or to draw attention to wrongdoing -- and journalists, who probe and ask questions in a way that helps to reveal the whole truth. Many of the leaks we now acknowledge as invaluable, including the Abu Ghraib photos, would fail your "whole truth" test. There is also a huge difference between releasing a mass of selected specific documents that are understood to be part of a whole and pasting together a video of a person speaking that deceptively misrepresents her message. Ultimately, there is always a "public good" judgment to be made about each set of leaks, and this is morally, not empirically, based. WikiLeaks's record is, at worst, mixed; its release of the helicopter shooting footage was, to my mind, unquestionably valuable in shedding light on hidden acts. I think the real problem is that WikiLeaks is filling a void left by corporate journalists, and as the only major cyber-leaker out there WikiLeaks is sometimes judged by standards that more rightly apply to journalists. I'd like to see more organizations like WikiLeaks, not fewer, so that the whole of this work is not defined by any one fallible player.

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