Why the Wikileaks kerfuffle is so important and what's it's showing us about the sad reality of our world
NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has an excellent analysis today documenting how, in the wake of 9/11, [journalists] dropped all pretenses of checking those in political power and instead began explicitly proclaiming -- as The New York Times' chief stenographer and partner-of-Judy-Miller, Michael Gordon, suggested -- that "capturing the dominant view within the government was the job [of journalists], even if that view was wrong." As Rosen writes, "our press has never come to terms with the ways in which it got itself on the wrong side of secrecy as the national security state swelled in size after September 11th," and thus: "To understand Julian Assange and the weird reactions to him in the American press we need to tell a story that starts with Judy Miller and ends with Wikileaks."
[I]t just so powerfully proves how mindlessly subservient the American establishment media is: willing to repeat over and over completely false claims as long as it pleases the right people -- the same people to whom they claim they are "adversarial watchdogs." It's when they engage in such clear-cut, deliberate propagandizing that their true function -- their real identity -- is thrown into such stark relief.
Just to underscore this point a bit further, consider this remarkable (and remarkably good) Editorial from The Guardian yesterday, which not only vehemently defends WikiLeaks, but -- extraordinarily -- also justifies the "denial of service" attacks from anonymous individuals around the world aimed at various companies serving the Government's war on WikiLeaks by depriving them of all services (MasterCard, Amazon, Paypal, etc.):
[I]t is impossible to conceive of any establishment media outlet in the U.S. uttering a peep of support for what those protesters did. The immediate consensus in the American political and media class was that these activists were engaged in pure, unmitigated destruction -- even evil -- and should be severely punished. That's because the greatest sin in our political culture is doing anything other than meekly submitting even to assertions of lawless and thuggish government and corporate power. If the Government and the largest corporations collaborate to lawlessly destroy Wikileaks for the crime of engaging in threatening journalism, then you simply write polite letters to Congress or complain on your blog; what you don't do under any circumstances is resist or fight back using even symbolic gestures of disobedience. That's the authoritarian mentality pervading -- defining -- not only the establishment media but (as a result) much of the citizenry.
These companies all considered that their association with WikiLeaks damaged their brand image, a reflection prompted in some cases by a helpful call from the US state department. In essence they are trying to have it both ways: pretending in their marketing that they are free spirits and enablers of the cyber world, but only living up to that image as long as they don't upset anyone really important. . . . .
The hacktivists of Anonymous may be accused of many things – such as immaturity or being run by a herd instinct. But theirs is the cyber equivalent of non-violent action or civil disobedience. It disrupts rather than damages. In challenging the credit card companies and the web hosts in this way, they are reminding these businesses that their brand reputation relies not only on how the state department sees them, but also on how they maintain their independence in the eyes of their users. . . .
In times when big business and governments attempt to monitor and control everything, there is a need as never before for an internet that remains a free and universal form of communication. WikiLeaks' chief crime has been to speak truth to power. What is at stake is nothing less than the freedom of the internet. All the rest is a sideshow distracting attention from the real battle that is being fought. We should all keep focus on the true target.
[N]ote how few object to the fact that the DOJ is investigating the pro-WikiLeaks attacks, but not -- of course -- the ones directed at WikiLeaks. That's because we collectively believe -- with the establishment media leading the way -- that the most powerful authorities have the unfettered right to do whatever they want to anyone who is sufficiently demonized as Bad, while the worst sin is to do anything outside of approved (i.e., impotent) means to protest establishment power and authority, no matter how destructive and criminal the ends are to which that power and authority is being applied.
we are witnesses to a tectonic shift underway in our world and i, for one, am eager to see how it all evolves... as always, i'm eternally optimistic that ultimately the truth will prevail... Submit To Propeller