If you do anything with a computer, chances are your friends have asked you “What is that Wikileaks thing?” or an even smarter question that tries to hook you into a debate, “What do YOU think of Wikileaks?”
Firstly, I’m not really sure why anyone around me cares what I think about Wikileaks, but maybe they are unsure of their own opinions and just want to bounce it off someone whose livelihood depends on having opinions about such things.
Or maybe they’re just itchin’ for a fight.
If you haven’t guessed by the length of time it took me to write about Jullian Assange and Wikileaks, my official position on the matter is, “Meh.” I don’t think anything has been revealed that anybody who had been paying attention didn’t already know. And those who have not been paying attention probably already have short attention spans and will figure out actually reading the cables and documents on Wikileaks is a lot of work. (It was for me.. still on page one.)
Here are my opinions. Comment below at will:
Wikileaks is first and foremost destroying the privilege of candid and honest conversation. But it isn’t alone in this. It seems everyone thinks that they have the right to distribute private conversation, letters, text messages and emails to third-parties with impunity. Think Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin… the list goes on and on. The messages that were released were sent from one person to another with the expectation of privacy under a contract of trust. Even folks like Ben Parr (whom I previously respected until this past weekend) are willing to embarrass and humiliate those who try new things. I am not going to discuss details.
For as long as I can remember, I have kept a mental list of those people I can be candid with in emails, text messages and voicemails, but lately, I have been thinking about what a candid email would mean if that person decided that my trust, friendship and respect is no longer valued, that humiliating and exposing me for some personal principle or fame is far more valuable? After all, Tiger once trusted Jaimee Grubbs or he would not have left a voicemail.*
Wikileaks is the new journalism
No, it isn’t. While there is some truth to “legitimate” journalism abdicating its role in investigative reporting, it is also true that the consumer is unwilling to pay the cost that a true investigative team demands. Everything about media has been deemed cheap, free and ubiquitous. Verified facts don’t seem to matter any more as a product differentiator among the billions of stories flung onto the web like poo from a monkey’s butt (including this blog post. I haven’t checked on any fact and I’m not gonna.)
Talented writers/journalists, photojournalists, editors and investigators need to make a living. Most of them would readily do it all for free on passion alone, but the electric company, their landlords and their governments disagree about their value in a consumer economy. They will shut them off, kick them out and put liens on property. If there is no revenue for investigative reporting, there is no means to pay quality people to do the work. You then have a vacuum that allows the rise of an organization like Wikileaks whose stated mission is to “reveal unethical behavior in their governments and institutions” without regard for the social or ethical repercussions of their choices. That is not journalism; that is reckless sadism.
Furthermore, legitimate media begins to get gutted out from within where instead of Walter Cronkite, Woodward and Bernstein, Edward R. Murrow and Tim Russert we have the likes of Chuck Todd and David Gregory, both of whom are incapable of thinking their way out of a paper bag. (Yes, I am aware of some news myths, but overall, the previous men were smart thinkers. And I’m not really sure if all sizes of paper bags apply.)
Jullian Assange is a traitor and has committed treason
No, he is not unless the Australian government charges him as a traitor. What he is, though, is exceedingly reckless, standing in a pond, poking at the alligators with a bamboo stick. He will get bit by one or two and eventually devoured whole by the congregation (really, I looked that one up. A pack of ‘gators is a congregation.)
Jullian Assange is being unfairly persecuted by the Swedish government
No, not really, He was being stupid consorting with a Swedish woman. He was being recklessly idiotic playing around with two at the same time. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with Swedish culture know that the women are about the most emasculating in the Western world. The only men who should be allowed anywhere near a Swedish woman is a Swedish man who has been trained from birth how to act with them. When you pair up a narcissistic Aussie with a Swede, it’s only gonna end badly. Really, it’s well-documented and I’m surprised nobody leaked that little bit of info to Assange.**
Paypal, Amazon and MasterCard were gunning for Assange
Nope. I think the decision to pull the plug on the services was strictly a business one. Wikileaks was pulling too much bandwidth from their networks to justify the cost of them continuing to service the accounts. It’s a shame that hackers don’t understand business fundamentals and misconstrue their actions as persecution. Corporations act in their own self-interest in pursuit of profit. When something threatens that profit, they get rid of it. Taking action based on emotion is almost never within the realm of corporate thinking.
Governments lie. Corporations lie. I am lying to you right now.. maybe. We all expect to be lied to all the time by anyone in power if only for them to be able to stay in power.
But building relationships work on this principle, even if you don’t like it:
Sometimes you have to tell little lies to get to a larger truth.
And that is all I am going say about Wikileaks and Jullian Assange. Ever.
*I’m not condoning anything about Tiger Woods, nor do I care about any of that other than this is an example of two people who had an unspoken bond of trust where there was candid conversation that was betrayed by one of the parties. But if you choose to miss the larger issue, comment and rant below. It will be ok.
**If you are a Swedish woman — actually living in Sweden — you know this about yourself. But, if you want to rant about my misogyny anyway, go ahead and do it below. I’m just stating what is already generally known.