Everyone is talking about the WikiLeaks disclosure of confidential diplomatic cables revealing the oft prickly relationship nations have with each other. That this comes as a shock is almost as shocking as the messages themselves, which, stripped of the Bond/Bourne intrigue and hurt pride, amount to little more than high school gossip and in-fighting among popular cliques.
The fact that these cables exist and reveal, if not confirm, the ugliness of diplomacy, makes them news. What few have mentioned, however, is what the leaked documents are not:
They are not reporting
They are not journalism
They are not investigative
They are not analytical
They are not, by themselves, important
According to WikiLeaks, “publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people.” Um, yes, but not always. Transparency also requires judgment and analysis. Transparency unchecked will get people killed.
WikiLeaks’ site goes on to say that “better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.”
Fine, I agree. But from where I’m sitting, WikiLeaks and those who support its brand of “journalism” are neither inquisitive nor vital to global discourse. WikiLeaks is not part of “that media” — it is part of a rogue, opportunistic and reckless media that has little understanding of journalistic principles nor concern for the fallout created by its selfish actions.
You want to be “part of that media?” Great, then grow up and act responsibly. Find the story and tell it with context and conscience. Don’t just put stuff out there and rely on the New York Times to clean up your mess (and thank God they are trying.)
As I’ve said before, I don’t care that newspapers are dying, I care that real journalism is dying with them. WikiLeaks just fired another shot into an open wound.