Why Are US Publications Downplaying The Significance Of Some Of Wikileaks' Leaks?
from the they-know-which-side-their-bread-is-buttered-on dept
We still can’t quite figure out why the story of US contractors in Afghanistan pimping little boys to law enforcement officials doesn’t seem to get nearly the sort of attention in the press that Wikileaks itself gets, even though Wikileaks is what revealed the actions by Dyncorp. In fact, some are noticing that the US press seems to be downplaying many of the revelations in the diplomatic cables that have been released so far. Karl Bode points us to an interesting report that highlights how a bunch of big name publications have tried to play down the leaks, listing out stories in Time, the NY Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post and elsewhere that all say the leaks have really only shown that US diplomats are effective at their jobs.
But then it lists out a whole bunch of things that have been found in the leaks so far (and, remember, less than 1% of the cables have actually been released), that all seem like pretty big stories, that haven’t received much attention at all. Many of them do get one or two stories, and that’s it. This includes multiple stories of US officials basically working to obstruct foreign governments from responding to various misdeeds by representatives of the US. There are also numerous examples of US officials disobeying agreements with other countries and believing bad intelligence. But, for whatever reason, that’s just not as interesting as the story of the organization that helped reveal that information?
Filed Under: journalism, wikileaks
Comments on “Why Are US Publications Downplaying The Significance Of Some Of Wikileaks' Leaks?”
Should read “in Afghanistan pimping little boys”
Yeah. If we were pimping little boys in Iran, that really WOULD be a story….
Should read “in Afghanistan pimping little boys”
Oops. Fixed. Not sure how I made that mistake.
Really, really good question
It would be really, really easy to go all conspiracy theorist on this, but I actually doubt a conspiracy in this case.
I think you can explain it in one of two ways:
1. Corporate interests (or beliefs about corporate monetary interests) keep those companies from reporting things that are a bit too close to the bone, as it were.
2. They’ve had it beaten out of them by 30+ years of people bagging on “liberal media”, PR companies withholding access if they offend, and a general viewpoint that “the country doesn’t need another Watergate”.
Re: Really, really good question
Bruce, isn’t what you just explained… A conspiracy by definition?
1. Corporate interests (or beliefs about corporate monetary interests) keep those companies from reporting things that are a bit too close to the bone, as it were. – Conspiracy to keep Corporate interests happy.
2. They’ve had it beaten out of them by 30+ years of people bagging on “liberal media”, PR companies withholding access if they offend, and a general viewpoint that “the country doesn’t need another Watergate”. – Conspiracy to keep info quiet for political reasons.
How bout this, our MSM is a lapdog for whatever party is in power at the time. It is no conspiracy the MSM tows whatever party line is in power.
Murdoch of Fox News Admits Manipulating the News for Agenda
Re: Re: Really, really good question
its hard to call it a theory; that media does serve corporate interest
“But, for whatever reason, that’s just not as interesting as the story of the organization that helped reveal that information?”
It’s slight of hand. This might actually be the best proof in recent times of a complicit relationship between our government and the seven or eight entities that own a vast majority of the major media in this country (all of whom belong to some of the same suspect groups: CFR, Tri-Lat Commission, etc.).
Cue the tinfoil hat comments if you wish, but when you start to see how all of these media outlets are owned by a small group of people that have relationships with high-ranking govt. officials, you have to start wondering how free our press really is….
I don’t think we should be cowed into worrying about being labeled “conspiracy theorists.”
What does the government constantly tell us? That vague networks of groups and individuals “linked” to each other are plotting our destruction. WTF is that but a conspiracy theory? Osama bin Laden runs some international group with ‘links’ here there and everywhere, all of them coordinated to destroy America. WTF is that but a conspiracy theory?
We should be more bold in pointing out that the source of most conspiracy theories is the US government.
Further, what the wikileaks cables reveal is that there are in fact many conspiracies, directed by our own government, to commit murder in our name. These are not theories, they are documented facts. We don’t need tinfoil hats, we just need to read the cables and call a spade a spade.
Re: Re: Answer...
awesomely stated !
I have to disagree with both you and Bruce.
1. People have trouble with nuance.
2. It’s more about veiled threats than direct government involvement.
Assange has already been painted as a terrorist and a sex offender. It doesn’t matter than the principle of Wikileaks is a separate issue of Assange’s personal character or motivations – people have trouble with nuance.
A story about a single private company in a foreign company with some bad employees is WAY more nuanced than attacking the press organization that is republishing information it got from some terrorist website.
Also, with people like Sen. Lieberman making veiled threats against the New York Times for republishing information it goes from those dirty terrorist supporters, I think the press is just avoiding the headache of government interference. I think it’s more that they’re afraid of DHS dropping the hammer for “national security” reasons. I find that more likely than direct collusion with the government.
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Yet one does not necessarily overrule the other!
When faced with threats they can simply grit their teeth and simply censor themselves OR (as any clever businessman will do) they’ll go to the gov’t and tell them “We are on your side and that’s why we aren’t publishing!”.
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“A story about a single private company in a foreign company with some bad employees is WAY more nuanced than attacking the press organization that is republishing information it got from some terrorist website.”
I sort of can’t believe that you actually wrote this sentence out and then kept it. Attacking a foreign press org that is republishing information it got from somewhere else while simultaneously reporting on the trial of the guy that runs it is WAY more convoluted and nuanced than the simple story of “American Company Prostitutes Boys In Afghanistan”….
“I think it’s more that they’re afraid of DHS dropping the hammer for “national security” reasons. I find that more likely than direct collusion with the government.”
I do not. Do you REALLY believe that Murdoch is afraid of Lieberman and not the other way around?
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“Do you REALLY believe that Murdoch is afraid of Lieberman and not the other way around?”
They can take punches at each other, so they both lose in the end. Or, they can shake hands and promise to leave each other alone, so they both win.
I haven’t heard them mentioned in 10 years.
“Cue the tinfoil hat comments if you wish, but when you start to see how all of these media outlets are owned by a small group of people that have relationships with high-ranking govt. officials, you have to start wondering how free our press really is….”
I think thats why the governmnet isn’t going to do much on net neutrality. Gotta squash the up starts in the new arena, can’t have them tipping the apple cart and telling people what is actually going on.
In a free America, the press controls the people, and the people control the government. In Joe Biden’s America, the government can scare the press into silence, and the fragile process of democracy is broken.
This is a great strategy, actually. Short of publishing obviously false propaganda that can be turned around and feed the fire, they stay quiet. If the public doesn’t find out all at the same time, the mountain is simply turned into a lot of small, manageable molehills.
I wouldn’t say that the press controls the people. But it should inform them. Control is a scary word, and it’s more akin to what the government is doing to the press by scaring it into silence.
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I stand by my original phrasing. The press has historically held the power to wield public opinion, which gave them the power to make or break governments. e.g., Watergate & Pentagon papers.
The press still has that power today, but with the advent of the internet to a lesser extent. Unfortunately, the mainstream press is not as “free” as it used to be.
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Watergate did actually happen you know, it’s not like the press created it.
Generally, the reason the press doesn’t completely control over public opinion is because while they do control how they release information, no one has a monopoly on it, and others can always release it instead. Other sources such as competition between the press, the potential for new startups, other countries’ press, wikileaks, or whatever can always release the information instead. I suppose if they could get everyone everywhere to agree with them about what information to release they would have control, but I’m not too concerned about that happening.
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“Watergate did actually happen you know, it’s not like the press created it.”
but as proven by resent events it was their choice to report it or start a moral panic to cover it up
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I agree that the press informing the people is the ideal.
However, control of information is in this era equatable with control of politics. Discuss politics with the average person on the street and 9/10 times you will be listening to the same emotional ‘talking points’ you read about in the news.
These days, it seems like for those common people who either only have the time to read news from one source or only follow ‘TV news’ and commentary, objectivity itself is a pariah.
Being an objective human, in my mind, is at least 80% impulse control. The emotional political “conversation” as dictated by the modern press has devolved discussion of government to pre-Stone Age grunting.
This is one reason news aggregaters are important. I don’t follow one newspaper now. Because I use an aggregater I see news from all over the world. That avoids some of the bias you get with a small selection of sources.
I’m surprised nobody’s suggested this yet but…what if they’re ignoring it because the victims are little boys? Perhaps if it were little girls, there may be more uproar. People could talk all offended-like over the water cooler about how terrible that DynCorp is. But since it’s homosexual, it’s still sufficiently taboo as to be NSFWC.
Re: Gender issues?
Perhaps if it were little girls, there may be more uproar.
Depends on the level of racism involved. If they were western white boys then you’d probably need to be the Catholic church to get away with it.
Re: Gender issues?
How is abuse of little boys Homosexual?? it is sexual abuse of children not two adult males. As to why you don’t hear about it……..Nobody wants to talk about this in the USA because it is SHOCKING that Americans could be doing this.
Let me say this is the kind of thing that happens if you don’t make your people accountable for their actions in foreign countries. They think they can get away with almost anything. It can only back fire on you in terms of “hearts and minds” etc. It is a major reason continental Europeans are often anti USA.
Re: Re: Gender issues?
umm, unless it was women doing the abusing, it’s homosexual whether they’re adult or not… it’s not like it suddenly becomes heterosexual just because one party is under age, ya know?
Re: Re: Re: Gender issues?
“umm, unless it was women doing the abusing, it’s homosexual whether they’re adult or not… it’s not like it suddenly becomes heterosexual just because one party is under age, ya know?”
I’m not sure of the point he was trying to make, but I have seen it reported that most men who abuse boys don’t identify as homosexual, even if they are technically. If you’re going by ‘well, they had sex with a guy’ then technically the boys would be homosexual too, which would not always be the case. If you’re going by ‘they were attracted to boys’ then firstly, abuse isn’t necessarily about attraction and secondly, being attracted to boys is not necessarily the same as being attracted to males in general.
Sexuality is full of nuances. The study that was widely reported as showing that people are either gay or straight actually showed that everyone is probably bisexual, but favours one sex depending on their orientation.
Why isn't the media doing it's job?
Well, the media IS doing it’s job. The problem is that the job’s changed. The job WAS to inform the public about current events, recent history and things of that nature. Now? The news is entertainment. We need to get the people’s attention for commercials! Sell those medications! Concentrate the US citizen on being a consumer. Citizenry is overrated. The less people who vote, the better off those who run the media are.
Ratings is the job of the news today. The fourth estate is broken.
Re: Why isn't the media doing it's job?
“Ratings is the job of the news today. The fourth estate is broken.”
And, oddly, it was capitalism that killed it….
Re: Why isn't the media doing it's job?
They are thinking longterm too. They know they can get a temporary ratings boost by pumping out the big stories from wikileaks, but then they politicians would get mad at them and not hand feed them stories and interviews in the future.
When the leader of the organization making the leaks is turning into more and more of a dick every day, and when he is showing that he has little interest in another other than the Cult of Assange, the media sort of tunes out.
Plus you have to remember, much of this stuff comes without any backing documentation. You have to take the word of a guy who hides between countries that this stuff isn’t made up. Nobody is going to confirm it, nobody is going to support it, and Wikileaks for the most part isn’t going to be able to prove it authentic. Why run with what may or may not be true, giving crediblity to a guy who is pretty much ruining it for journalists and the media?
Enlightened self-interest, really.
Work it, Coward!
Hey, if you like swallowing the tripe you’re being fed, go right ahead.
“Stupidity is like nuclear power, it can be used for great good or great evil; and you don’t want to get any on you.” ~OR~ Please keep you ‘enlightened self-interest’ off of me.
“Plus you have to remember, much of this stuff comes without any backing documentation.”
What a joke. Has there been even ONE allegation that any of the leaks are false?
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Is there one shred of evidence that they are entirely true? Are there any supporting documents (outside of the system)? Anyone backing the data up? Anyone confirming the stories?
What happens if the US (and their allies) set Mannig up with 250,000 fake documents?
You don’t know. The media doesn’t either, and outside of the stuff on wikileaks itself, they have no way to confirm any of it. Heck, Manning and Assange could have made this up. You never know.
The only one really running with it is the UK Guardian, who are Assange’s semi-official fanclub. Otherwise, everyone else, after the initial burst, is pretty much staying away from it.
Wake me up where wikileaks publishes the charges against Assange and leaks his interviews with the police. Until then, it is a censored site like any other.
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If they were made up, don’t you think the US would have dismissed them? No? they’re going after someone for a work of fiction?
Stop being a dupe…
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We are actually pretty damn certain they’re true.
1) Of the cables released thus far, they match up with real, known, public events perfectly. Fabricating so many documents and managing to get everything right would be incredibly difficult. 1800 docs so far.
2) Some documents have been previously leaked to various sources, some of which remained undisclosed. They match the documents leaked by wikileaks.
3) Some people who have access to classified documents have actually come out and said “Yes, these documents are in the system as leaked, AFAIK”.
4) These documents contain a lot of stuff we already know that was not public. They do not contradict anything we know.
5) The five major news sources which are helping wikileaks with vetting these cables haven’t said anything about them being false, and they (should) be doing everything they can to verify them. And falsify them.
6) Under the FOIA, knowing the name of the documents, and what information they contain, journalists, (and people in general, really), can ask the gov’t for the documents directly and verify that they are the same documents found in the leak.
7) To fool Bradley Manning, they would have had to give him a job which entirely dealt only with dealing with faked documents. Only passing fake documents to superiors, of which the information isn’t true. Talk about pointless. Hiring more people to work on a fake system won’t do anything about real leaks.
8)Of the events we did not previously know about, or were masked, we are now able to collect information, knowing how and where, to verify the claims made by the leaked documents. So far, it’s matched up perfectly.
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1) Knowing history, one could easily write fake cables that would sync with reality.
2) Same sources for the same made up documents. Not an issue here.
3) Please provide some names and quotes to support, I haven’t seen anything except “anonymous sources” and “some dude on the internet” on this one.
4) If we know it, how could it not be public? If there is enough knowledge, you can obviously make it up and put it on paper.
5) They have no reason to say anything. Perhaps the government has contacted them and said “Don’t say anything, just let it go”. That would be in a secret document that none of them have.
6) They can do that. There is no indication however that all of the documents are faked, only some. There is potential that in response to FOIA requests on these documents, the same faked document may be supplied.
7) The army has done worse in the past with people they think are risks. It wouldn’t be about manning, it would be finding out where the documents are going.
8) Provide examples. Nothing so far appears to rise to that level.
Remember: The US government could have fed Manning a major crap sandwich, and then could be providing “confirming” documents that are equally crap. Wikileaks could be putting fabricated documents in with the real ones, using the real ones to buy credibility for their made up stories.
Finally, let’s add this:
9) Unless Assange treats his own arrest and prosecution for rape in the same manner as he treats everyone else’s information, he will also be suspect, and Wikileaks as a result with always have a credibility hole. Why are his documents private but everyone else’s are public?
Re: Re: Re:3 Re:
While I haveto admit I haven’t personally verified the leaks, if leaks were forged, why wouldn’t the government would just say so? It’s not like they wouldn’t be able to tell.
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In fact the US government is acting on the information as if it is true and taking actions to mitigate the damage not by saying it’s untrue, but by apoligizing to other countries for having done those things.
Also, governments’ documents generally need to be available to the electorate so democracy can function. (So people who don’t want to spend their money pimping out little boys can vote accordingly)
There is no such requirement for private citizens’ documents.
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so many bad agruements -__-
1) in this number? no, nonsense and after all that work they let the media ignore it?
2)yep just because someone has never lied to u before, doesn’t mean they wont next time, and maybe it could lead to ur death because they are terrorists
that is a really paranoid view, and y do u believe what ever news source u heard this agruement from?
3)u are posting as anon, u must be lieing cause u didnt bouther to make up a name and a title no one would check, or set up a website to have ur name on it as the only proof u exist
4)he probably left out “at the time of release” tho i dont know
5)y would the government not tell them to check if they were remotely true, if its all lies?
6)so the big pile of “faked” documents that make usa look bad have been “faked” by the usa
7)and if thats what they were checking they should have killed him when wikileaks released the first bit
8) basically what he said was that for all the news people, and polictoins necks on the line who are very anti-leaks,
they havnt found anything
9)it wasnt rape, it was sex w/o a condom, as this site has said so no using the 3rd one here, and it leaves even bigger holes in the fact checking of the media which we trust w/o question
10)ur being hippocratic and so has everyone ive seen who argues that point
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1-8) In the end, there is no proof offered one way or the other. Most media outlets don’t tend to run stories without some sort of support, a quote, a confirmation, whatever. Most of them tend to stay away from stuff that could be fabricated.
9) May have occured when the women are asleep, which would be non-consentual. We don’t know because Mr Assange is very careful not to leak that information (after all, if he was innocent, why not leak it? Hmmm!)
10) “hippocratic” indeed. You undid all your good work in one word. Amazing.
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WRONG. The information will have been somewhat fact-checked, otherwise it can’t be a leak. It would be disinformation. Plus, the typical US overreaction gives an implied truth to the documents.
“You have to take the word of a guy who hides between countries that this stuff isn’t made up.”
Yeah lets sit our asses back and convene a grand jury over made up stuff … That really makes alot of sense.
“giving crediblity to a guy who is pretty much ruining it for journalists and the media?”
Good on him, the news media needs a good shake up. And the news media ruined itself by becoming nothing more than talking heads giving no facts just opinions.
Ad hominem works.
So the US government is spending all this time and money trying to prosecute Assange for spreading fiction. I think the proof that the information is true is the fact the government is trying to supress it.
It is Happening in Europe.
Here is Nat Hentoff’s account of the publication of the Pentagon Papers. When the New York Times got cold feet, some reporters leaked the material, or enough of it, to the Village Voice, and that forced the New York Times into action. The Village Voice was smaller and scrappier than the Times, and could take greater risks.
Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, “The Enemy Within,” , Jan 16 2007
Now, of course, matters are somewhat different. Apart from WikiLeaks itself, and its mirror sites, the main publication outlets are European newspapers, most notably the London Guardian. Or possibly it is just that the London Guardian is in English. That’s not surprising– the main weight of the WikiLeaks revelations seems to be the extent to which the United States Government is trying to treat Europe as a colony, exploiting Europe’s disunity. This kind of conflict, of course, goes back to J. Servan-Schreiber’s _Le Defi Americaine_ (1967), published during the previous American colonial war– Vietnam.
US-government diplomats just doing their jobs
Their job is obviously to protect the human (God-Bless) Americans from the subhuman foreigners.
For avoidance of doubt, this commenter does not believe that that’s a moral job to have.
The bias of our news media is a ratings and entertainment bias.
24 hour news networks may not be our main source of information, but they do tend to frame what gets discussed by repetition and the speed at which they can get to a story.
A story about Wikileaks has a personality at its center, and is easier to report on than digging into the information itself.
Stories that require some education or background with which the audience is not already familiar risk having viewers change the channel to a rerun of Real Housewives.
Reaction to Leaks similar to the stages of grief?
Similar to the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I think for the Wikileak’s we’re somewhere between the anger and bargaining stages. Curious to see how the depression stage is handled.
Re: Reaction to Leaks similar to the stages of grief?
some people commiting suicide to avoid going to court for treason with little hope of winning?
because the corporations own the government and the corporate media.
you think you’re living in a just country, NO your government are scum murdering ppl globally, the USA is the largest exporter of illegal terror from bankrolling Israel’s genocide of Palestinians, to slaughtering thousands of civilians in Panama!
And you think its your way of life that ppl hate?
This has been happening with Dyncorp employees since the War in Bosnia in the late 90’s.
It is apparently well known that Dyncorp employees buy and sell underaged boys and girls in the warzones they are sent to. They walk hand in hand on camp and in the local towns. They take them to official company functions. No one seems to give a crap.
Americans go to war to impose their values on other nations. Are these really the morals you want to be spreading?
It is amazing that the American public are so apathetic about this. When it’s a pop star doing the abusing, it is all over the news. When a church leader does it, it is all over the news. When a military contractor does it, it is not mentioned at all. That’s some nice selective principals you have there, guys.
And the worst thing about this is that there is a second amendment that says you can carry a gun to fight an oppressive government. Yet this right is not exercised. You guys won’t even vote for a different politician. How do you expect anything to change?
as an american i`d wish u would call out the correct people to blame foe selective principals, the media and the government.
and the current voting age group doesnt care about others and dont expect change
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Mate, you are the one who is in charge of both the government and the media. Stop reading/watching CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX and they will get the picture soon enough when they can’t sell advertising. Vote for politicians that aren’t democrat or republican.
I am blaming the right person as you are ultimately responsible for your government.
I am waiting to see how the boy pimping party plays out. I would like to see a congressional investigation of those involved, but with the government in denial I suppose nothing will happen. Seems with that sort of thing being a bid no no at least someone in the press would pick it up.
Yes, US publications have had very little coverage on wikileaks and actually have all but stopped coverage for the past week. Guardian is the only mainstream publication that is still publishing news on Wikileaks – US political blogs are also interestingly mum on Wikileaks, bit the Tech blogs are active – Is the mainstream press free? Are we living in an open democracy? – http://www.kbucket.com/main/view_kbucket/35