In a classic case of telling the boss what he wants to hear, WikiLeaks released cables asserting that Michael Moore's documentary Sicko was banned in Cuba. Only problem? It wasn't.
Michael Moore was as surprised as anyone when WikiLeaks revealed a US cable asserting that Cuban officials banned his Sicko documentary because it depicted a "mythical" view of health care there. He was even more surprised when the media picked up on the cable and reported it as gospel truth. (See the Guardian, whose report in turn got widely disseminated.) The problem is that the documentary—a damning assessment of the American health care system—was not banned in Cuba, he writes at the Huffington Post.
As Digby points out, we used to have this thing that would actually check out stories before running them.
If only there were professional people who gather facts and research issues and interview subjects who could be called upon to investigate such things. I recall that there used to be an organization called The New York Times which was interested in sorting out various secrets and lies but they seem to have gone into another business. (Some strange foreigners still practice this old fashioned craft but here in the US not so much.) Too bad. It could be useful.
The point is apt, and makes the Americans media's tweaking about Julian Assange look all that much more ridiculous, because it looks more and more that many of these cables were written by people looking to make the bosses happy, not truthfully inform them. Like those cables that asserted that the Saudis actively supported and encouraged US aggression against Iran, all of these leaks and revelations must be met with skepticism and investigation into its validity.
But that would require actual journalism...