Has WikiLeaks become a tabloid?

When Julian Assange revealed the collateral murder video in Washington DC, I was so incredibly glad that someone had finally brought light to the horrors of war. After learning the effect that such reporting could have from the Vietnam war, the US government has essentially taken complete control of war reporting. I was less impressed with Cablegate, which raised a lot of questions for me. Was the publishing of this information simply a manifestation of Assange’s anti-American bent? Was it possible to even view these cables in the proper context? At this point in time, I still sided with Assange and felt that Bradley Manning’s good intentions and idealistic desire for transparency would make for a better world.

WikiLeaks was marginalized and then demonized in a way that shocked me deeply. I was inspired by the response from Anonymous, and quickly shocked by the pure extremism which climaxed with the FBI’s AntiSec sting operation. Likewise, the publishing of Stratfor’s internal e-mails, which were stolen simply out of opportunism and malice, was absolutely horrifying.

WikiLeaks has become a tabloid, cheerleading for Anonymous and publishing snippets of e-mails from Stratfor which are taken wildly out of context. One infamous quotation of George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor, has been misrepresented in a deeply crass and disgusting way. As is the rule for tabloids, outrageous headlines obscure the true story.

Oh, that must mean Stratfor is not to be trusted!

The link, of course, leads a tiny minority of readers to a silly e-mail about lunches being stolen from the fridge at Stratfor headquarters. The vast majority of people read the quote and go on to the next tweet, automatically assuming that Stratfor is a bunch of conniving liars. The notion that Stratfor is a “Shadow-CIA” has also spread to all corners of the Internet, although it is a gross misrepresentation at best. Really, Stratfor isn’t nearly as sinister as it might sound.

Supporters of WikiLeaks repeatedly state that Stratfor is a legitimate target for this campaign of forced transparency simply because its business overlaps with the military industrial complex. While I fully agree with the sentiment that the military industrial complex is basically an overgrown monster, is it okay to attack Campbell’s soup for feeding the troops? This simple bad guy/good guy paradigm is obviously not realistic, and the situation is much more complicated. Stratfor provides their services to many corporations, individuals, and government entities both in and outside the United States. Many of these subscribers have been targeted by Anonymous and literally robbed, seemingly for no reason at all. The suggestion that there are important confidential e-mails dripping with scandal and crime has so far proven totally false.

What the Stratfor leaks have revealed, essentially, is that there are a bunch of analysts doing their best to figure out world events and speculating about practically every major happening. Some of these analysts don’t really like Julian Assange, and some of them even make racist statements in private e-mails. On the surface, the Global Intelligence Files appear to be an astounding list of revelations which will keep conspiracy theorists abuzz and WikiLeaks in the public spotlight. At their heart, it’s a sad failure for truth where context has been cut out to push an obvious anti-American agenda.

Right now, you might be thinking, “Hey, but all these tabloids are trying to take down WikiLeaks and smear Assange,” and you’d be totally right. But Assange has fired back, making equally outrageous claims about his detractors. The reductio ad absurdum of Assange’s stance is summarized in the following tweet:

Of course the e-mails from Stratfor are legitimate.

I have considered Assange a genuine agent for positive change and much needed transparency in the past, but this is the tweet that made me realize what WikiLeaks has become: A stupid tabloid with a penchant for the absurd. Look at the web site around you. This is absolutely the Internet’s fastest growing tabloid, featuring intelligent and biting satire. I know what a tabloid does. WikiLeaks has become a tabloid.

I challenge Assange to officially recognize the importance of context. Assange should pony up the $50,000 because I pointed out where he literally destroyed veracity by placing a quotation wildly out of context. And what is truth, if the framework of meaning behind it has been omitted?

A tabloid we may be, but at least we aren’t perniciously cramming a single-minded agenda down your throat by twisting the context of stolen material. Well, I guess we are, but at least our agenda is just all about the laughs. Kinda.

10 comments to Has WikiLeaks become a tabloid?

  • Throckmorton T-bizzle

    Yawn. Next time try writing articles that don’t steal their concepts from South Park episodes.

    • Don’t know if trolling, or just unfamiliar with a concept once pointed out by Matt and Trey that there are only so many perspectives you can apply to a story – saying they are not surprised, offended or infringed upon if someone else, unbeknownst, shares their sense of humor about something. BTW I haven’t seen that episode. Neither has Kilgore.

      • Neo

        I did. And even though the main idea was pretty much the same, Kilgoar did the story his own way. That episode wasn’t very good btw.

  • Spunik

    Assange on the run … for the Senate

    FIRST The Simpsons, and now the Senate. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for federal office, setting up a potential battle with the Greens for a left-of-centre quota.

    Mr Assange, who is under house arrest in England, facing possible extradition to Sweden to answer sexual assault charges dating back to 2010, will mount a Senate bid here, his group announced on Twitter yesterday.

    The outfit also hopes to run a candidate against Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the safe Labor seat of Lalor, centred on Altona.

    ”We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” the WikiLeaks website tweeted.

    ”The name of the Laylor [sic] candidate and the state Julian will run for will be announced at the appropriate time.”

    WikiLeaks is also flirting with the idea of establishing its own political party, declaring it ”not only feasible but likely given the support levels in Australia”.

    http://m.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/assange-on-the-run-8230-for-the-senate-20120317-1vccl.html

    PLEASE, OH PLEASE, SOME NEWFAG POLITICAL MISADVENTURE BY WIKILEAKS TO TROLL HARD…*drools and rubs hands together at the fun fun fun times coming

  • The Dude

    Yeah, well. That’s just like, your opinion, man.

  • Spunik

    Billy the kid does it again, and so I guess with that $50,000 the next round drinks are on you ;)

    Bradley Manning innocent until proven used and abused Assange for his own personal anti-Western agenda.