Wednesday, 1 December 2010

“It all depends whether or not we agree with them…”

Tim Blair wonders why the New York Times—and, by extension, most of the mainstream media—are so excited by the WikiLeaks documents. After all, they didn’t publish the ClimateGate emails because, they said,

_Quote_Idiot the documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all
manner of private information and statements that were never
intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

That was then. Now, by contrast, when faced with a torrent of documents which appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information, the New York Times has decided

_Quote_Idiotthe documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match…

Oh. Of course. That will be the difference.


  1. For the media, it also depends on factors such as "is everyone else publishing articles on this". If every major media outlet is talking about something, it'll look pretty obvious if they don't. Julian Assange's aggressive marketing / over-hyping of the releases practically ensures the media are unable to ignore it, which he creates so much buzz, it creates this compound effect where no media outlet can afford to be ignoring the 'buzz' as readers will say 'wtf'.

    However that doesn't stop them from putting their own spin on things though. The state media BBC's coverage is, as usual for them, not just horribly watered down, but they've also put such an obvious negative anti-Wikileaks bias on the coverage it's beyond ridiculous, plus they're almost dismissive of it all, as if it's just annoying to them and they're covering it because they have to.. The BBC's major headlines on this include, I kid you not:

    'Wikileaks angers Europe'
    'Has Wikileaks cost lives?'
    'Leaked cables 'attack on world''

    Such propagandistic and biased headlines would make the China Peoples Daily proud.

    Interestingly, it was Julian Assange himself who said in an interview on Colbert that '90% of people only read the headline', and the public's impressions are formed by the headline. Don't think BBC don't know this very well.

    It's interesting to contrast BBC's coverage with e.g. the UK Guardian, who've gone all out with special interactives and a special section for users to 'explore' the cables etc. Thank G-d for freedom of speech.

    Actually I'm often amazed at how poor the BBC is, yet I've found one is never allowed to criticize them as any criticism is met, for some odd reason, with visceral almost brainwashed defensive reactions. But maybe I'm wrong.

    - DavidJ


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