As you read this article, please understand that I am in no way endorsing the release of information that could potentially put American troops, our covert operatives, or any of the other great Americans serving and protecting our country and its people in danger. Just like Julian Assange, I believe there is certain sensitive information that can and should be kept confidential. However, there is other information about which the American people have a right to be informed. I am a firm believer in the right of free speech, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize our country, any of its people, or any of the great people serving our great country.
You may not have heard of it before, but chances are you have now. WikiLeaks has quickly become a topic of many water cooler conversations, thanks to the leak of nearly 92,000 classified U.S. military documents earlier this week (92,000 docs? Are you serious??)
In case you don’t know, WikiLeaks is a controversial website that publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct. Its founder, Julian Assange, is considered one of the most visible and outspoken human rights activists. He works outside the boundaries of conventional media to expose what he views as injustices.
The media has been censored over the years. It’s now made up a bunch of lackluster, lazy journalists who are afraid to go after a hard-core story. Maybe it’s because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. Whatever the reason, it’s an outrage. No wonder newspaper readership is declining! It’s because journalists today lack the guts to write the stories that need to be written. They’re afraid to make a bold statement or make any waves in the status quo. So instead, they’re giving up their First Amendment rights.
WikiLeaks, on the other hand, isn’t afraid. They put it all on the line to talk about real issues…to bring them to the attention of the American public, even when it’s not pretty, even when it’s downright ugly, as it often is. As a matter of fact, WikiLeaks is a volunteer organization – its people don’t even get paid! That’s how committed they are to bringing information into the public eye that would otherwise remain shrouded in secrecy.
Whatever happened to free speech, and freedom of the press? These are fundamental principles on which this country was built. Don’t people deserve to know the truth? At the very least, don’t they deserve the opportunity to have all the information available and the freedom to draw their own conclusions?
The real issue here is why it’s necessary to work outside of the boundaries of mainstream media to uncover stories like this. WikiLeaks is getting so much publicity because it’s the only entity out there that managed to break this story (and others like it). Why aren’t mainstream journalists digging up top-secret information instead? The goal of WikiLeaks is to encourage government transparency and accountability. Isn’t that what all political journalists are supposed to do? Journalists should be out there trying to break these stories instead of relying on WikiLeaks to do their dirty work for them. After all, isn’t that what good investigative journalism is all about?
Jordanism: Never be afraid to share the truth.
What’s so fascinating about the most recent leaks is that Assange actually leveraged traditional media for the first time. He partnered with several traditional media outlets (including The New York Times) to release this latest round of classified documents in order to make sure they got the attention they deserved. And it seems to have worked. What’s sad is that journalism in this country has gotten to this point. Journalists need to get back to basics and remember what their job is all about. Once they do, maybe mainstream journalists can actually be bothered to uncover a breaking story for themselves instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them. Until then, I guess we’ll have to rely on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. So much for the power of free speech…