04 December 2010

WikiLeaks: Conspiracy vs. Transparency

Watchdog Journalism is what we used to call journalism when it served democratic principles like checks and balances.

The term is now sadly emblematic of a bygone era of journalism that held people and institutions accountable.

Watchdog journalism has been a historical cornerstone of US democracy.
When journalism is weakened, democracy is threatened.
Lapdog Journalism, its antithesis, is what the US is saddled with now.

Lapdog journalism is now the de facto standard in the US. The Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, weakens all democratic principles except free speech.

Fox News perpetrates an insidious flow of event-based entertainment that pollutes us with didactic mis-information.

Fox News is Rupert Murdoch's Corporatist lapdog.
Fox News is the thinking person's unwanted house guest.
Fox vigorously promotes ideas that eventually morph into public policy that is pro-corporation and anti-people. This is done by twisting factual events into news entertainment.

Fox News is masterful at germinating the dangerous mix of fear and ignorance into divisive and misguided animus. It divides us as quickly as it misinforms us. This cancerous flow of news entertainment metastasizes to squeeze out the best interests of ... people.

Enter WikiLeaks.org.

I have been considering the Wikileaks phenomena. Press critic, writer, and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen uses the fitting term stateless in describing Wikileaks.
WikiLeaks is the first stateless news organization
~Jay Rosen

WikiLeaks is a decentralized, not-for-profit, information radiator. Hosted on distributed servers, it is a social and technological phenomena made possible by the internet.

WikiLeaks is not beholden to a country, or to a profit-making organization. Such a fount of information is unprecedented in journalism.

Hindsight will reveal WikiLeak's impact on global democracy, but it has the makings to be a galvanizing, symbolic radiator of information like the midnight ride of Paul Revere was for colonists in 1775.

In the US, WikiLeaks might well be
The Super Bowl of Conspiracy vs. Transparency
WikiLeaks provides a secure and anonymous way for sources to leak and radiate information. Conspiracy and evil-doing rely on secrecy.


Leaked information from WikiLeaks has the potential to deflate conspiracy or, at least make marginally democratic, fascist, and regressive behavior incrementally more visible and debatable.

WikiLeaks must rely on a network of volunteers distributed around the world -- volunteers united in their belief that transparency advances the common good while secrecy is fundamentally anti-democratic.

To survive, WikiLeaks must diligently push the edge of technology (securing, protecting, & shielding information from agents of evil and mercenary attackers) as it is about gathering, sifting and radiating critical information.

I am hopeful. The WikiLeaks phenomenon might make it less likely that first-world nations like the US will behave badly. It might make it less likely that moral quagmires like the dubiously legal detainment and dubiously legal torture perpetrated by the Bush administration and a complicit US Congress, will occur as frequently in the future.

I am hopeful about the information phenomenon of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks might be temporarily shut down, or temporarily derailed by powerful purveyors of conspiracy and secrecy, but the WikiLeaks phenomena, the social and technological innovation, might well benefit democracies, free thinkers, and proponents of transparency for years to come.

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