While politicians, pundits, military, and journalists assess and debate the fallout from Wikileaks’ release of the “Afghan War Diary” – the legality and ethics of Wikileaks, its impact on the war efforts, the rise of the “world’s first stateless news organization” – a number of developers are diving right into the 91,000 some odd classified documents and seeing what they can do with the data.
Update to my previous WikiLeaks post: information is, in fact, still able to permeate even the strictest legal strangleholds. I applaud these lunies who risk life and limb to develop the code that empowers us to understand the data we pay for yet are systematically denied access to by the people we’ve put in power. Take it back!
Hasn’t anyone explained to the Pentagon how globalization works? Turns out you can’t lure expatriates back to the US by promising to arrest them. Similarly, you can’t convince them to relinquish top secret materials said expatriates have made a lifelong crusade out of liberating, simply by asking. Who hires these people?
Regardless of the content, it’s clear that WikiLeaks’ partnership with The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian was unprecedented. Never before had a private organization provided multiple mainstream media sources with access (albeit embargoed) to classified government information. This new strategy marks a shift not just for WikiLeaks, which has been leaking classified information since 2005, but for whistle blowing in general. In a nutshell, the latest leak from WikiLeaks signals a seminal change for investigative journalism.
As the old media monsters shrivel up under the blinding light of the internet’s new blogosphere-megaplex, these kinda of partnerships – where vested interests, national security, and public tastemaking collide – will come to define how we interact with our own governments. When we can’t – or don’t – trust the authenticity information we are fed from institutions with vested interests, we turn to new sources for “truth”. In the process, fact and fiction are marginalized in favor of explosive popularity…
…and the media’s relationships (pulic-private, author-viewer, subscriber-editor) erode, giving way to new systems of belief and readership.
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