Now WikiLeaks is being blamed for stuff it didn’t even do. Guardian UK is sheepishly admitting that they released a diplomatic cable concerning Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition in Zimbabwe, not WikiLeaks. Too late; the further undeserved damage is seemingly done, and objective truth in journalism takes another blow.
“The reason I’ve been so repetitively vigilant about pointing out the falsehood that WikiLeaks indiscriminately published 250,000 diplomatic cables is because there is a full-scale government/media campaign to demonize the group through outright fiction of the type that sold the nation on Iraq’s WMD stockpiles and Al Qaeda alliance. The undeniable truth from the start is that, with very few exceptions, WikiLeaks has only been publishing those cables which its newspaper partners first publish (and WikiLeaks thereafter publishes the cables with the redactions applied by those papers). This judicious editorial process — in which WikiLeaks largely relies on the editorial judgment of these newspapers for what to release — was detailed more than a month ago by the Associated Press. That’s the process that explains why The Guardian — not WikiLeaks — was who first published the Zimbabwe cable. Yet the false accusations that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped 250,000 cables went on for weeks before it finally (mostly) stopped (once it was lodged forever in the minds of most Americans) — and now we have the false claim that WikiLeaks injected this harmful Zimbabwe cable into the public domain, even though it simply didn’t.
“This is the propaganda campaign — created by the U.S. Government and (as always) bolstered by the American media — which is being used to justify WikiLeaks’ destruction (and, with it, the repression of some of the most promising avenues for transparency and investigative journalism we’ve seen in many years).
“The key point here is that WikiLeaks didn’t steal anything. They didn’t break any laws. They did what newspapers do every day, what investigative journalism does at its core: expose secret, corrupt actions of those in power. And the attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks is thus nothing less than a full frontal assault on press and Internet freedoms.”