Whatever else he has accomplished, Julian Assange through WikiLeaks has opened for
examination important questions about the new journalism and the appropriate use
of the Internet. Is Wiki a publisher? Is it practicing journalism? Does it create
more problems of invasion of privacy than transform an overly secret society to
one more open and thus more democratic?
"WikiLeaks changes everything,” Christian Caryl wrote recently in The New York Review of Books. The sheer volume
of its uncurated disclosures of secret information of government and business is
unprecedented. Caryl concluded that he didn’t “see coherently articulated morality,
or immorality, at work here at all; what I see is an amoral, technocratic void.”
One’s view of WikiLeaks may vary among generations for that very reason — the younger
being more sympathetic to Assange’s views. My older generation sees the younger’s
downloading music and movies as stealing from the Internet, and many also see Wiki's
disclosures as theft — dangerous theft at that, as it might unnecessarily hurt people
through its indiscriminate use.
I am absorbed in nostalgia. A habitual obituary reader, my eye caught one today
that I might have missed, so remote was the name, Fred Foy. The 89-year-old Foy
was the voice of the Lone Ranger on radio in the 1930s, when I was a boy and radio
was THE medium of entertainment. His stentorian voice intoning, "A fiery horse
with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty, ‘Hi-yo Silver, away!’ ” each
night took my young imagination to exciting places beyond my personal world in small-town
New Jersey. Foy led listeners to places where television never could take its viewers
because one watching isn’t using the same muscles of imagination required for radio.
Often it is the case that the protagonists of precedential civil liberties
issues are questionable characters. There are more Escobedos than Martin Luther
Kings in the pantheon of personalities whose names symbolize important constitutional
issues. Julian Assange is the most recent case in point. Assange leads a weird
life-on-the-run, and is a hero to some while an outlaw to many. Like many
notorious figures, he provokes the law and generates distracting side stories
like the questionable rape claims in Sweden. But Assange’s leaks are causing
commentators to revisit our government’s secrecy laws, and this is good.
As readers of The Hill and some other news organizations know, former Vice
President Al Gore has now ripped into Fox News after a leaked internal
e-mail from within Fox led Gore and global warming advocates to charge
that Fox News coverage is biased on the issue.
Equally interesting, a new poll from highly respected World Public Opinion
finds many Americans believe false information about major events, and
a higher percentage of misinformation is believed by those who regularly
watch Fox News, compared to other news outlets.
This morning on Fox News, former Bush White House spokeswoman Dana Perino
refuted Dan Bartlett’s claim that the Bush tax increases were designed to be a
“trap” for Democrats.
In response to a question about Bartlett’s comments, she told
the hosts of “Fox and Friends”: “If the Democrats think this is a trap, this is
one they fell for and is one of their own making.”
So, who is being truthier, or who are we to believe?
For the original post, see here.
David Di Martino is CEO of Blue
Line Strategic Communications Inc. The views expressed in this blog are
his and do not necessarily represent Blue Line’s. Follow David:
Two recent front-page stories defined the important crosscurrents at play in
our government’s policies surrounding secrecy and confidentiality.
The government’s law enforcement work detecting and arresting an American
terrorist in Oregon last week was impressive. Not only was a horrible public
tragedy avoided, but an international terrorist organization was infiltrated
and its plans were thwarted. It was law enforcement at its best, in the
confounding and shadowy world of terrorism. The FBI worked secretly, as it must
in such situations, with anonymous tips and electronic surveillance. All to be
The first thing that struck me when I watched “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” was the
music. The first few tinkly bars were strangely reminiscent of “Desperate
Housewives” and I wondered briefly if the show was going to be a spoof about
the former Alaska governor.
Then I noticed how she kept bolstering her silent husband’s self-esteem, with
comments about how supportive he is of her public role, and praising everything
he did from fishing to shimmying up a rock like a mountain goat.
Is it possible to defend Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity at the same time?
Yes — if they agree on a common principle. And in this case, though they
both may deny it, they should agree on this principle: Both of them, as openly partisan
hosts (Olbermann a liberal Democrat and Hannity a conservative Republican) should
have the right to make donations to candidates or causes they believe in.
In fact, Fox has no problem with Hannity making political contributions because
management makes no pretense that Fox’s evening shows are objective news-reporting
programs that should be held to journalistic rules of political neutrality. Fox
makes a distinction between its news organization — including such widely respected
national political reporters as Carl Cameron, Jim Angel and Wendell Golar — and
its political evening shows.
He’s back! Tuesday
night. But the big question of the day remains:
Should MSNBC have suspended Keith Olbermann in the first place?
And the big answer
of the day is: Hell, no!
Look, I do think the best policy is for paid performers on radio and television
not to make any political contributions. That, in fact, was the rule at CNN when
I worked there, as co-host of “Crossfire.” And, believe me, as many other TV and
radio hosts will admit, that’s not necessarily a burdensome policy. Let me tell
you, it saved me a lot of money! Because it gave me a good excuse not to write a
In newly reelected Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s first TV interview, he was given the same rough treatment Rand Paul was when he was berated by Rachel Maddow and the same Sarah Palin was when she was attacked and mocked by Tina Fey, David Letterman, Katie Couric and many others.
Welcome to the realm of the winged monkeys. It was a telling moment: The thing they instinctively feared in Sarah Palin and Rand Paul they find again in Rick Perry. But it is much worse. This time it is real. Rick Perry is a master. Everything the Tea Party said and did these last two years takes shape and form in Perry’s reelection.