How The Press Misleads About Wikileaks

from the journalism-at-work dept

As Julian Assange's lawyers fully expect him to get charged in the US under the Espionage Act, it's interesting (and a bit distressing) to see how some in the press -- who should be his biggest supporters -- are acting. Glenn Greenwald highlighted how a Time Magazine report on the potential US legal case against Assange misstated a variety of facts -- including the idea that Wikileaks itself had published "thousands" of classified State Department cables and that it had done so "indiscriminately." As Greenwald points out Wikileaks itself has only published a little over 1,000 of the cables, and nearly all of them are the ones that the press has already posted/vetted/reported on.

This is a part of the story that isn't getting much coverage. While most of the news reports have said that Wikileaks published over 250,000 such cables, that's not exactly true. It has over 250,000 such cables and appears to have passed them on to its media partners, but it's slowly releasing specific cables -- with redactions -- and mostly after the press partners are releasing those same cables. In other words, it appears that Wikileaks is actually being judicious and discriminating in what it's releasing. Or, you could say (and probably should say) that Wikileaks is actually doing much of what a journalist would do in selecting which documents to pass along at this time.

But by trying to claim that Wikileaks is "just" a data dump, it's an effort to make Wikileaks look like it's not a journalistic or media entity -- thereby affording it fewer First Amendment rights. But, it appears that some in the press, such as Time, are being quite misleading in doing so. After Greenwald called them on it, Time issued a "correction," but it's a "correction that's not a correction" in that they basically say that Assange and some others disagree with some of Time's claims. But it makes no attempt to fix the factually incorrect statements.

Of course, this may come back to the view that many have: that certain elements in the press are upset about Wikileaks because it shows what a crappy job they've been doing on their own. If we had a functioning press that actually sought to hold the US government accountable, there would be much less of a need for Wikileaks. Instead, we have a press that focuses on keeping "access" to those in power, and that means not digging too deep at times.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    If you repeat a lie often enough...

    The propaganda machine is hard at work.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    I don't read Times

    Primarily because it's just not a reputable journal of opinion.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    is this the same time magazine thats supposedly going to name him person of the year?

     

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  4.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    press has never done a good job

    I thought people figured out that the mainstream media was worthless ever since the protest silencing in the middle east got no news coverage outside of reddit/fark?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: If you repeat a lie often enough...

    2-0 NWO. Welcome to the new USA.

     

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  6.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    In other news "integrated news teams". In related news.. tank drives right into independent media HQ in Iraq.

    Yawn.

     

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  7.  
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    Eugene (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    "Or, you could say (and probably should say) that Wikileaks is actually doing much of what a journalist would do in selecting which documents to pass along at this time.

    I'd say that their accuracy, careful decisions and thorough methodology is making them look entirely unlike a modern journalist.

     

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  8.  
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    Eugene (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: If you repeat a lie often enough...

    Same as the old USA ;)

     

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  9.  
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    Hikori, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Eugene

    ""Or, you could say (and probably should say) that Wikileaks is actually doing much of what a journalist would do in selecting which documents to pass along at this time.

    I'd say that their accuracy, careful decisions and thorough methodology is making them look entirely unlike a modern journalist."

    HA! it's funny because it's true~!

    Joking aside, Assange has admitted to throwing alot of leaks away when he felt that it could cause loss of life and danger, and even asked the US MILITARY(read; idiots) if they would like to censor anything before he leaked it(several times), in response they effectively called him a terrorist and a thief.

    I mean, they had the opportunity to say "You can say this about Hillary because it will hurt the world diplomacy efforts too much" but no, they refused to even look at it.

    Heck, will all of the hatred towards wikileaks that the US has given it, i'm surprised they're not trying to be MORE Hurtful to us. I mean, they're only run by humans after all, and a human can only take soo much mistreatment and abuse (mostly verbal in this case) before wanting to strangle someone.

     

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  10.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re:

    Interesting point. If US journalism had any stones left, then we would already be looking at mirrors of the entire Wikileaks site at the New York Times, Miami Herald, Denver Post, Chicago Tribune, etc.

    After all, they (putatively) have First Amendment protection, massive budgets, armies of lawyers, etc. They're in a vastly better position to fight this battle than WL -- and they should.

    But my guess is that they're content with the role they've chosen for themselves: stenographers who transcribe the words of the powerful and lack the guts to call them out -- to their faces -- when they're obviously lying.

    Indirectly, that's why the reaction from inferior people like McCarthXXXXXXXLieberman is so vehement: they've gotten used to a docile press that they can manipulate. They're scared out of their minds by the prospect of one they can't. All this prattle "disclosing our secrets" is just that; what they really fear is someone, anyone, who will speak truth to power.

    I'd love to hear what Katharine Graham would say about this.

     

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  11.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Might try David Icke if you want a living word.

     

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  12.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Charges??

    Since when has Assange been subject to US law?

     

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  13.  
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    TPBer, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Charges??

    Since we made a new law to cover the entire globe

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re:

    You are not likely to see mirrors of Wikileaks inside the US. It would be pretty much like waving the red flag in front of the (federal) bull. Goring (an attack by Al Gore) would likely occur.

    Sadly, Wikileaks is just a data dump. Their only clever part (and that is questionable) is scanning through the data with a simple search program and pulling out things they think will have the most impact. Out of the 1000 they posted, maybe only 50 or 100 of them are truly useful, most of the others appear to be posted only because of certain keywords.

    There is no attempt to correlate or build a story based on the documents, just random document, random document, random document. That isn't journalism at all. That is just being a data dump. Heck, much of what they do could ahve been done with google search if they let all documents get indexed.

    Wikileaks is a major fail, because it is so far over the line, that the only people supporting it are the communists, the leftist dictators, and extreme socialists. Everyone else is pretty much disgusted.

     

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  15.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You are not likely to see mirrors of Wikileaks inside the US.

    There are already several hundred mirrors inside the US.

    Sadly, Wikileaks is just a data dump.

    You're ignoring their partnerships with several major newspapers, who have been providing the correlation and story-building you allege is missing. Therefore you're either hopelessly ignorant of the facts of this matter, or you're just lying.

     

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  16.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Charges??

    America, fuck yea!*


    *Senshikaze does not support america in this particular endeavor and is not affiliated with anyone or anything involved. All rights reserved. Your results may vary. Talk to doctor before reading if you are pregnant, or may become pregnant. Senshikaze's comments are not intended for children under or over 18 years of age. Patent Pending.

     

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  17.  
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    Yeah Right, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    The meaning of press

    I don't believe journalists are actually arguing whether Wikileaks is press or not.

    European laws have free press provisions too. The term press simply means text and pictures. It refers to the printing press, which at the times these laws were written already covered a hell of a lot more than just newspapers.

    It's just any information of opinion that is not spoken, but written down, printed, recorded, in any medium.

    Methinks these journo's need to come off their high horses and do some actual reporting, dammit.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    short term mirrors. How many of them are really in the US, and how many of them are hiding out at leaseweb or other offshore hosts?

    One of them gets whacked, the rest of the children will pull them down quickly before mom finds out. Otherwise they could end up like that 16 year old grade 10 student in Amsterdam, looking forward to years of hard time for running a botnet.

     

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  19.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's just call a spade a spade - "Ignorance has taken over, let's take the power back!"

    AC is probably just playing keyboard commando today in his footie jammies while he watches Faux News on the TV next to the computer.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    i know find us a botnet srver op

    ya know who has nothing to do with it and is so young we can freak him out to confess anyhting we like
    ya
    like that kinda misleading

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'll tell you why they arrested a 16 year old. It is because a 16 year old can't afford to defend himself and his parents don't fully understand the issues at hand.
    He is an easy target to set the precedent.


    They'll have a lot harder time charging someone like myself and that is why they don't bother.


    The other reason is that this is a media beat up. By arresting one 16 year old, they can extrapolate that all people supporting wikileaks are 16 year olds.

     

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  22.  
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    Chargone (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Charges??

    and to think there are still people trying to say that the USA is not imperialist or an empire.

     

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  23.  
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    Joseph K, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Why the press dislikes wikileaks

    I think the reason the press dislikes wikileaks is simply because there's a democrat in the presidency. Democratic citizens become more concerned about government power when there's a Republican in office and vice versa when there's a Democrat in office (and the same with Republicans, in reverse). The mostly democratic press sees wikileaks as an attack on a democratic government.

     

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  24.  
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    edward r.murrow, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    weak & tepid news media output......

    has been evident in the industry for at least 15 years. News media shot themselves in the Cheney over this sustained underperfomance. Now have they have arrogance to complain about Assange's news judgement? Weak. Pussies.

     

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  25.  
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    Darryl, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 6:46pm

    From the how Mike misleads about wikileaks Dept.

    Wikileaks is "just" a data dump, it's an effort to make Wikileaks look like it's not a journalistic or media entity

    Well, fact is wikileaks is "JUST" a data dump, the other fact is not a journalistic or media entity..

    its just not, assange is not a journalist, he does not even write journalistic content, it is only a media entity in that it has media on it. not in the way you try to portray.

    It is not a journalistic or media entity, it is an aggrigator at best..

    So he withholds information, he censors information, he redacts (sometimes) and poorly..

    As well he made a huge mistake, that will be his downfall.

    That was, he released a cable listing the names of contacts, putting those people listed at risk of being killed..

    He re-released that cable, with redactions, but as you keep saying, once its out there its too late.

    That alone will be enough for the US to charge and convict him of espionage. and it will stick..

    We screwed up badly, hubris is his downfall..

    Putting lives at risk, for his own profit and gains, does not make him a hero.

    You are in a minority if you think otherwise, most people are sickened by this moron..

    This pathological narsisst

     

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  26.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    Re: “The Mostly Democrat Press”

    So who are the Republican voters reading?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, he wasn't arrested as an easy target, he was arrested as an idiot running a lioc without being smart enough to mask his IP properly. He was arrested for controlling a large and significant cyber attack. He was arrested for being a stupid, ignorant kid who doesn't have enough life experience to realize that this sort of things doesn't work.

    Want the proof that it works? The anons have suddenly decided that cyber attacks are a bad idea. Mostly, the children have crapped their pants in fear that they are next, and have decided to move on.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh boy. Watching Fox News is like reading the National Enquirer after a bad bender. It's loud, it's uninformed, and it's mostly wrong. The funny part is that much of what happens here on TD is pretty much the same, plenty of attempts to shout people down rather than consider their points.

    Ron, based on your picture, you seem a little too mature to fall for the kiddie fare being served up here. Are you a professional student, perhaps? Or maybe you work at a University, perhaps bartender at the campus pub?

    Ignorance is only thinking that you already have all the answers, and no longer opening your mind. Open your mind, and think past the end of your extremely liberal education. You might learn something!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:44pm

    FREEDOM FOR JULIAN ASSANGE! WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!
    America is fucking with the people of Russia because it’s passing a bill that would disadvantage American Business men. You know something’s wrong when your government supports a massive multi million dollar capitalist over the majority of the worlds people. Read more from the wikileaks cable here: http://213.251.145.96/cable/2010/02/10MOSCOW228.html
    Remember: We are anonymous, we are legion. We do not forget, we do not forgive. Expect us.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:39pm

    Competition

    it's interesting (and a bit distressing) to see how some in the press -- who should be his biggest supporters -- are acting.

    They see Wikileaks as competition to be wiped out. Short-sighted, but typical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    BS, they were already headed away from that direction since the Pirate Party asked them to do so.

    If anything, Anon isn't filled with just script kiddies, but a thinking leadership that understands that their attacks aren't going to garner the right attention for their cause nor Wikileaks.

     

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  32.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Competition

    I guess they don't like reporting news.

     

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  33.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 11th, 2010 @ 1:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Liberal? Education? In the US?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You wish what, precisely?

     

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  34.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Dec 11th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that Anon isn't the same one time to the next. It's not a strict structure, by definition there is no leadership.

    Everyone is anon, it's not a single group.

     

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  35.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Dec 11th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: From the how Mike misleads about wikileaks Dept.

    Wikileaks did NOT leak the cables... one of the 3million people who had access to them did, to Wikileaks (who knows to whom else those cables have been leaked).

    You scream bloody murder over these cables.
    All wikileaks does is publish. The ones who wrote them should be punished, the one who leaked them should probably be punished (though I'd say that Bradley Manning is a fucking HERO), but please for the love of mercy, not a publishing agent like Wikileaks.

    Lest all other whistleblowers will be condemned. And there will be no hope left of EVER getting truth about bad stuff come out.

     

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  36.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 11th, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The anons have suddenly decided that cyber attacks are a bad idea. Mostly"

    this from an AC ... LOL to funny

     

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  37.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 11th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Just a thought

    So how do we get Jullian Assange nominated for a Nobel Prize?

    It would be really hypocritical for the US to put a nobel prize winner in jail.

     

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  38.  
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    bikey, Dec 12th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Trying JA

    For anyone interested, here's a new Congressional Research Service Report on what statutes might be used to go after Assange:
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/R41404.pdf

     

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  39.  
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    Don, Dec 12th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Eugene

    Assange did not throw anything away. He has the information stored and many copies, and in 20-50 years it will be worth a fortune and sold to the highest bidder as a collector’s items. And the tapes might even save his life.


    You heard the saying, Anything you say can and will be used against you” that is the position that Assange put obama, the slut Hillary and their minions in. Bend over obama and take it, your image is scrapped.

    You see we are not talking about the deployment of troops, battle plans, or the location of our submarines, Navy ships NOR their mission. We are NOT talking about secret launch codes, or the identification of undercover agents---or the new formula for high tech jet fuel.

    We are talking about the caricature of world leaders, as the Saudi dictator and his family having wild sex parties, drugs and booze, hookers and parties all night where our ambassadors are invited to get so drunk they fall over, and Obama/ Biden/Hillary calls that inteligenc gathering when in reality it nothing but sloppy drunks sucking up the USA’s tax money. And this goes on in about every country the USA sends ambassadors to. And then we wonder why the world is a shit-can worm hole.


    This is NO revelation, I read about the Saudi King’s drunken parties 2 years ago--- but NOW we have the PROOF and the USA ambassadors are deep in the gross frivolity.

    This is what I pay taxes for, to send some shit head over seas to get drunk and chase Arab sluts? I think NOT.

    Obama and his staff is shown to what we all ready know, he is nothing but an immature (infantile) party animal pretending to be president, living off a vain image that has NO merit what so ever. NOW we have the leaks to prove it. Thank you Assange, I owe you one for your bravery.


    You know when the leader of Russia calls Larry King LIVE and chews out obama on USA public TV, because obama let their dirty little secret out of vile reverie, you know the world is pissed off at obama, and the hell with secrecy.

    Then obama sends out his taking ass (his press secretary) to say to the USA public, “Obama has called all the world’s leaders and every thing is OK now.”---- what a load of crap! That means they have made plans to take their drunken sluts and drugs further back into the woods.

    This is the entire point of the leaks, and there are over 150 thousand cables yet to be published. And I bet even more will show up as degeneracy breeds degeneracy, stupidity breeds stupidity, and that is reality.

    I SAY FINE WELL AND GOOD, let the truth be known.


    Don

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2010 @ 5:59pm

    Re:

    You don't forget, your don't forgive, but you can only stay up until 10 because mom yells at you if you stay up late on school nights.

    Go away child.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Dec 12th, 2010 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re: “The Mostly Democrat Press”

    Q: "So who are the Republican voters reading?"
    A: Faux News (Duh)

    Of course the only real difference between Liberal (ABC, CBS, & NBC) and Conservative (FOX) Media is the way they slant the FUD. It is all bullshit.

     

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  42.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Dec 12th, 2010 @ 8:54pm

    Re: From the how Mike misleads about wikileaks Dept.

    1) **Lurn to Speel**
    2) How are Larry and your other brother Darryl, are they well?
    3) As ALWAYS {{Citation Needed}}, when you spew this drivel without backing it up you look like an even bigger idiot than you already are.
    4) From Wikipidea: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    "Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is considered to result from a person's belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person's conscious awareness; such a person would typically deny thinking such a thing, if questioned. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognized their supposedly defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ view of them and behavior towards them.
    Do you REALLY think that fits Mike? Wow you are a moron.

     

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  43.  
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    needy, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    so who is paying 'Time' to post as much misleading info about Wikileaks as possible? i can think of several in the government that would do so. this sort of thing is as dangerous as it is to openly call for Assange 'to be wacked'. if there was nothing to hide, there wouldn't be so many people trying to stop information from being made public. do i hear bribery as well as corruption?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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