Why journalists hate Wikileaks, maybe

Cringely has a theory about why journalists hate wikileaks:

I spent eight years at InfoWorld working as a gossip columnist and know a thing or two about news leaks. So here is the gossip columnist’s view of this week’s huge Wikileaks story about U. S. diplomatic cables. It comes down, frankly, to a squandered opportunity. [...]

Wikileaks, in contrast, is anarchistic joiurnalism. Wikileaks takes the approach of just dumping on the web the actual documents for the rest of us to dig around in. One shot and they are done, which isn’t journalism but IS news. In one sense this is very generous in that anyone with time on their hands can probably dig through that material and find an untold story or two, but from the perspective of a professional journalist it is squandering material for the sake of spectacle. Wikileaks is just showing-off.

And Stross thinks he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize! I kinda don't think they give those to anarchists, though.

Wikileaks is not attacking the US government; rather, it's acting to degrade the ability of pressure groups to manipulate the US government to their own ends. Those who benefit the most from their ability to manipulate the State Department are the most angry about this: autocratic middle eastern leaders, authoritarian right-wing politicians, royalty, corporate cartels. Those of us who are scratching our heads and going "huh?" about the significance of Muammar Ghadaffi's botox habit are missing the point: it's not about the content, but about the implication that the powerful can no longer count on their ability to lie to the public without being called on it.
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3 Responses:

  1. Journalists may also feel anxious about the sheer volume of reporting work that has to be done to contextualize giant shipments of information like that. Frightening prospect on a daily deadline.

  2. LunaticSX says:

    Each and every reporter (I was going to write "journalist," but I don't think the news industry employs them, anymore) who's angry at Wikileaks wishes (even if only secretly) that they'd been the one contacted first with the same info--and that they'd have had an exclusive on it. As an industry they see it as millions or even billions of dollars burning on a bonfire in front of their eyes, with a pile of Pulitzer prizes flaming away right at the top of the heap.

  3. U. N. Owen says:

    What drives me crazy is that a lot of the information isn't even newsworthy. Ghadafi has a voluptuous blonde Ukrainian nurse; Angela Merkel is kind of boring and uncreative; Canadians are passive-aggressive to Americans.

    It's mostly the inside voice of the diplomats that see this stuff everyday. I'm sure every reporter and diplomat from all countries knows Ghadafi has a thing for women. But they would never nearly get as much attention if they ever wrote about it.