I've been astounded by the treatment of Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks story by the media ever since it broke. Howard Kurtz called Assange disingenuous for not outing his sources, which is insane.
Howard Kurtz allegedly understands journalism, so it's outrageous for Kurtz to take offense when Assange refuses to out his sources, as I explained in a post called: Why are the media so eager to bury WikiLeaks?
KURTZ: Rick Stengel, let's turn now to your interview with Julian Assange. I found some of his answers to be absolutely disingenuous. For example, you ask whether secrets are ever necessary, and he says, well, his secrets are necessary, protecting his sources, but "our responsibility is to bring matters to the public."
What's important is the information contained in the WikiLeaks cables, not Assange himself -- and when we're dealing with whistleblowers, of course their identities have to be protected.
Journalism 101 states that you never out your sources, no matter where you get your information. The Beltway Villagers even defended the odious Judith Miller when she went to prison rather than divulge that Scooter Libby was her source in the outing of a Valerie Plame, as I've mentioned before. That was information that led this country into an unjustified war based on lies told by Miller and her leakers.
After watching Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC show such disdain for Assange, I asked a question that really hasn't been asked all that much.
I expected the State Department to speak out against WikiLeaks, but why have the media been so hostile to WikiLeaks and so passive about the people trying to silence his operation without a shred of evidence of him being guilty of a crime?
I wonder if they are afraid that either they or their friends might show up in some of these leaked cables in an unfavorable light. Yesterday on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell was discussing Assange's bail in the UK and seemed afraid that he might have access to the dreaded "Internet" and destroy the world.
I understand that access to D.C. is very precious to the Beltway Village, so outside of fear of what might be found out about their friends and that they'll earn extra credit for bashing Assange by the powers that be, I still don't get their attacks on the whole WikiLeaks story. And as we've seen, cable TV news has turned away from being a deliverer of news and instead focuses on orchestrating battles of opinions with punditshills and ex-GOP Bushies, but the networks for the most part have to turn away from their own stable of journalistic talkers to bring in a differing opinion on the WikiLeaks story, because the Villagers on TV are routinely characterizing Julian Assange as a terrorist.
Glenn Greenwald posts today about his CNN interview last night over WikiLeaks and he highlighted four points in his post, The merger of journalists and government officials:
4) If one thinks about it, there's something quite surreal about sitting there listening to a CNN anchor and her fellow CNN employee angrily proclaim that Julian Assange is a "terrorist" and a "criminal" when the CNN employee doing that is . . . . George W. Bush's Homeland Security and Terrorism adviser. Fran Townsend was a high-level national security official for a President who destroyed another nation with an illegal, lie-fueled military attack that killed well over 100,000 innocent people, created a worldwide torture regime, illegally spied on his own citizens without warrants, disappeared people to CIA "black sites," and erected a due-process-free gulag where scores of knowingly innocent people were put in cages for years. Julian Assange never did any of those things, or anything like them. But it's Assange who is the "terrorist" and the "criminal."
Do you think Jessica Yellin would ever dare speak as scornfully and derisively about George Bush or his top officials as she does about Assange? Of course not. Instead, CNN quickly hires Bush's Homeland Security Adviser who then becomes Yellin's colleague and partner in demonizing Assange as a "terrorist." Or consider the theme that framed last night's segment: Assange is profiting off classified information by writing a book! Beyond the examples I gave, Bob Woodward has become a very rich man by writing book after book filled with classified information about America's wars which his sources were not authorized to give him. Would Yellin ever in a million years dare lash out at Bob Woodward the way she did Assange? To ask the question is to answer it (see here as CNN's legal correspondent Jeffrey Toobin is completely befuddled in the middle of his anti-WikiLeaks rant when asked by a guest, Clay Shirky, to differentiate what Woodward continuously does from what Assange is doing)...read on
Woodward has been the cleaner for the Washington Post for a long time, and he's held up to a higher level of worship than even David Border. Here's a classic video which has, of all people, Don Imus confronting Andrea and the Beltway elites over their behavior in 2005 on the Plame case:
Imus: It seems unclear what you said and perhaps you can clear it up about what you said back in Oct. of 2003---
Mitchell: I have been trying to figure out "what-the-heck" I was talking about, frankly. There is confusion because I am confused.
Imus: So when you told Alan Murray of CNBC, that it was widely known that his wife worked for the CIA-(interruption)--what, were you drunk?
Mitchell: I don't even remember the deal.
Imus: What this suggests to me is that you knew she worked at the CIA, but you didn't know what she did there. Isn't that fair-did you know that?
Imus: Why did you say that Andrea?
Mitchell: I messed up...(later)
Imus: Russert was a little short with me---almost like he was trying to hide something....
Imus (laughing): I realized -- well this is an unfair thing to say, I was gonna say -- all you folks in Washington are all in bed with one another, but that would be an awful thing to say....
I think Imus was right on when he said 'all you folks in Washington are all in bed with one another,' and Mitchell knew it. As time goes on it's pretty hard to miss.
Digby beats back one of the bigger zombie lies being told by the media about Wikileaks.
There are many fine points in the piece, but he mentions one zombie lie I'd really love to kill --- the one that all of these so-called reporters seem to have absorbed as if it's the received word of God --- the one that says Wikileaks dumped 260,000 cables indiscriminately on the Internet.
Here's the truth, from an AP news report from December 3, 2010. There's no excuse for journalists not to know this by this point:
By The Associated Press
The diplomatic records exposed on WikiLeaks this week reveal not only secret government communications, but also an extraordinary collaboration between some of the world’s most respected news-media outlets and a website that is facing increasing pressure and criticism from governments worldwide.
Unlike earlier disclosures by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of secret government military records, the group is releasing only a trickle of documents at a time from a trove of a quarter-million, and only after considering advice from five news organizations with which it chose to share all of the material..
This is the saddest day for journalism since their guileless acceptance of the WMD boogeyman and giddy cheerleading for the Iraq war. It turns out that journalism is important, but most of these "professional" practitioners of the field are not only failing to practice it, they are hostile to the idea that they should practice it. It's very revealing.
It's just another sad and revealing day for all the hacks running around and impersonating real journalists. Not all journos are acting like this. Major props goes to the Ray Odroso of the Village Voice.
Read more here.