December 18, 2010

I’ve been leaning towards WikiLeaks as freedom of the press. For example, I think Daniel Ellsberg is a hero for outing the Pentagon Papers.

Then I read “Why Shouldn’t Freedom of the Press Apply to WikiLeaks?” Written by Tim Dickinson on 12-15-10. And now I know for sure how I feel.

Dickinson asks: “Imagine for a moment that the quarter of a million secret government cables had been leaked…to the executive editor of the New York Times…. The Times would never have returned the confidential files to the Obama administration…. The Times would have attempted to engage with the State Department to try to scrub life – and source-threatening details from the cables…. And if the administration had refused to participate…. The Times would have done what any news organization has the imperative to do: It would have published…any cable it deemed of interest.”

And that is exactly what Julian Assange did. Every one of those steps. And the U.S. administration refused to play. And neurotic, right-wing radicals like Palin and Lieberman and McConnell and Gingrich are calling for Assange’s head.Did you know that Columbia University’s graduate school of international affairs actually was warned not to Tweet about the Times reports on WikiLeaks?

Did you know that U.S. soldiers abroad have been told that they’re breaking the law if the read any other country’s newspaper reporting on the cables?

Let’s see, what countries does this remind you of? Countries that control the press and the media. Countries that are anti-freedom.How can this be the U.S. of A.? I thought we believed in freedom of the press. I thought that openness was good and secrecy was not so good. And don’t tell me how these cables are so secret. The Times – this country’s newspaper of record – is printing the stuff. The Times isn’t stupid. The Times — just like WikiLeaks — scrubbed some of the information.

Here’s how Dickinson ends his article:

“Listen: You don’t have to approve or Assange or his political views…. It’s freedom of the press. And it’s a dark day everywhere when the imperatives of government secrecy begin to triumph over our First Amendment.”

By the way, I don’t actually care if Julian Assange is trying to embarrass the U.S. Are we so immature we cannot handle that? Are we so unable to stand up and be proud of what we do well?

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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