Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Selective WikiLeaks and its handpicked print media: the 5 papers that do most to propagate the dismal view of American power and U.S. foreign policy

A more glaring violation of WikiLeaks’s supposed commitment to “radical transparency” could hardly be imagined
notes John Rosenthal as he examines what turns out to be 'the farce that is WikiLeaks’s self-styled “Cablegate”,' pointing out that
whereas WikiLeaks has withheld the documents from the public [not even 1 percent of the reported total have thus far been published on its website], five handpicked media organizations have enjoyed exclusive access to the complete stash. … the selection of the five newspapers enjoying privileged access has clearly not been arbitrary.

Germany’s Der Spiegel, Britain’s Guardian, Spain’s El País, France’s Le Monde, and America’s own New York Times. Not only are these five of the hoariest dinosaurs still roaming across the international old media landscape. Taken together, they are probably the five print media of reference that have done the most over the last decade to propagate the dismal view of American power and American foreign policy that passes for “leftism” nowadays in both Europe and the United States itself. (Italy’s La Repubblica could be added to the list.) Why were precisely these media and not others given privileged access?

The exclusive access provided the five old media dinosaurs has given them an unfair competitive advantage vis-à-vis their competitors and thereby an obvious economic boost. … But the exclusive access has also given the fabulous five old media organizations the opportunity to pick and choose among the cables and to spin their content in accordance with the precepts of the anti-American Weltanschauung.

And spin they have. Der Spiegel and its treatment of the story of the Egyptian imam Abu Omar provides a revealing case in point.
Read the whole thing, notably the (numerous) times that the papers' "editors appear to have not deemed the revelations regarding [subjects such as Khaled Al-Masri] as newsworthy" ('Whether out of ignorance or deceit, news organizations like Der Spiegel and WikiLeaks’s other privileged “media partners” have as a rule neglected to divulge its contents [those of an Italian arrest warrant published years ago] or even its [the warrant's] mere existence to their readers')…