Al Jazeera’s Listening Post on WikiLeaks

Al Jazeera recently asked me to make a viewer contribution to its thought provoking media analysis show The Listening Post which you can watch above. This week it looked at the mainstream media’s reaction to the release of the Iraq War Logs by WikiLeaks. The point I make is:

The constant media reporting of the Pentagon claim that the War Logs have put lives in danger is not only untrue but monstrously hypocritical. Even NATO have confirmed that none of the Afghan leaks have led to reprisals in Afghanistan but more importantly, since the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law, it is the Pentagon – not WikiLeaks – that has illegally continued to put lives on both sides in danger since 2003.

I added at the end: “This glaring war crime is almost completely overlooked by the corporate, mainstream media” although they didn’t use that bit along with some more general commentary about the way the War Logs had exposed the impotence of the media.

It’s refreshing to see a mainstream media organization like Al Jazeera taking a critical look at media coverage. It’s very rare that the media actually take a long hard look at themselves because it reveals far too much about how complicit they are in state-corporate crimes. A prime example is the way the liberal media have scrambled in recent weeks to smear both Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, deflect attention onto Iran (as a recent article in The Australian did which appears to have been deleted from their website) or dismiss them, as Obama has, saying that “there’s nothing new” in the revelations.

This New York Times pieces by Robert Burns (which requires you to register for free access to the NYT) is a prime example on smearing Assange and WikiLeaks. Check out the comments on this article (which don’t require registration to view) to see just how out of touch the NYT is with its readers on WikiLeaks. Also do not miss this piece in Salon by Glenn Greenwald which is a brilliant expose of both Burns and the liberal media’s Nixon-esque reaction to the War Logs.

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9 thoughts on “Al Jazeera’s Listening Post on WikiLeaks

  1. An excellent soundbite, admin. Hopefully the segment will get some play in the US.

    The US newsmedia has long been overdue for a deep self-critique, but seems mostly unwilling/incapable. I gave up my television years ago, and have been so glad to see the rise of the internet and blogs and the general distribution of analysis to players outside the mainstream arena. Such a relief to have access to foreign news outlets online; thanks goodness for Al-Jazeera.

    Meanwhile, the NYT has added a non-self-reflective self-analysis by their public editor regarding their own slanted wikileaks coverage:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/opinion/31pubed.html

  2. A good reader comment from that NYT “mea culpa” piece:

    If publishing the material was what you “had to do,” then why undermine its impact with a simultaneous hit-piece by Burns, which used rumor and innuendo to erode the credibility of Wikileaks?

  3. Excellent video from Al Jazeera, and well said, Nicholas. Great to meet you. 😉

    The NYT “public editor” manages to sneak in a smear of his own about JA’s “sketchy character” — how low can they go? If I were JA and WL, I’d leave the NYT out of the co-op arrangements from now on. They don’t use the material well anyway.

    Do JA and WL know about the McClatchy group? They are unfortunately not in many major markets (like NYC or DC), but they’ve gained a lot of respect and attention for refusing to be stenographers for power. Give the stuff to McClatchy — the NYT will have to copy.

  4. Oh, btw: Yesterday I got an answer from Birgitta about whether either Burns or Ravi had spoken to her directly for the NYT piece. When I first asked just about “the Burns article,” she tweeted back that she didn’t know what I meant, so I sent her the link. She replied:

    thanks i have seen that – i never talked with Burns, impossible to remember the names of all the journos:) – spoke to Ravi.

    So she does keep saying unhelpful things — Burns and Ravi didn’t just recycle Shenon.

  5. A fair comment you have made.

    But I think that the issue of putting people’s lives in danger by publishing their real names has to be addressed, because the objections of (former) WikiLeaks insiders and of AI and RWB have much weight in the eye of the general public.

    If an agent’s (for lack of a better word) cover is blown, he or she must be relocated to safety. I understand that those who employed such agents have had enough time to do so. Which makes it every agency’s responsibility, not that of WikiLeaks.

    Moreover, let me make the guess that Assange could foresee that said agencies, for obvious advantages in organisation, manpower and communication, would easily beat the Taliban in a race for the speediest reaction to the publication of the papers.

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