media authoritarianism

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Glenn Greenwald uses Time as an example of media authoritarianism in the War on WikiLeaks. He calls Time's WikiLeaks article and a misleading correction "a monument to the corrupted premise at the heart of American journalism," and observes that Time's claim about "WikiLeaks' indiscriminate posting of the cables" is easily disproven. "[A]s a casual review of its site independently proves -- WikiLeaks has done very little other than publish the specific cables that have been first released by newspapers around the world, including with the redactions applied by those papers:"

In other words, the most Time is willing to do -- when forced by public complaints -- is note that "some" people (i.e., Assanage) "dispute" the Government's accusatory claims of "indiscriminate" documenting dumping, ones uncritically amplified by Time and countless other media outlets. The most they're willing to do now is convert it into a "they-said/he-said" dispute. But what they won't do -- under any circumstances -- is state clearly that the Government's accusations are false, even where, as here, they unquestionably are.

...establishment media outlets, by definition, will rarely do: state clearly when the facts contradict -- negate -- claims by those in political power, especially when the target of the false claims is a demonized outsider-of-Washington faction like WikiLeaks.

Why raise a fuss about this?

The reason this matters so much is because this falsehood is at the center of both the propaganda war against WikiLeaks and the efforts to criminally prosecute it by claiming it is not engaged in journalism. Almost every radio and television show I've done over the last ten days concerning WikiLeaks -- and most media accounts I read -- have featured someone, somewhere, touting this lie, usually without contradiction: that WikiLeaks has indiscriminately dumped thousands of cables, whereas newspapers have only selectively published some.

Greenwald also notes that "the media's willingness to repeat this lie over and over underscores its standard servile role in serving government interests and uncritically spreading government claims:"

This is the same mentality that expresses such self-righteous outrage over the mere prospect that disclosures of the truth by WikiLeaks might hypothetically one day lead to the death of a single innocent person, while barely uttering any real anger over the massive numbers of innocents actually being caused right now by the U.S. Government. And it's the same mentality that purports to acknowledge the massive secrecy abuses, deceit and pervasive crimes of the U.S. Government, while demanding that one of the very few people who risked something to do anything meaningful to stop all of that -- Bradley Manning -- be severely punished, or that Julian Assange be punished. This is authoritarianism in its classic form -- an instinctively servile loyalty to power even when it is acting corruptly, lawlessly and destructively -- and it finds its purest and most vigorous expression in those who most loudly claim devotion to checking it: our intrepid adversarial journalists.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 11, 2010 10:58 AM.

Hitchens on Teabaggers was the previous entry in this blog.

conservative political language is the next entry in this blog.

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