The Phony Nobility of Wikileaks

There’s a theme running through the latest WikiLeaks story which can be summed up in a single word: Hypocrisy.

It’s a safe bet that Julian Assange, the brains behind WikiLeaks, sees himself as a noble idealist at war with a nation that hides its many bad deeds in files marked “secret.”

By exposing America for what it is, or at least for what he thinks it is, Mr. Assange is a hero, or at least he thinks he is.

Except he isn’t.

If Julian Assange really wants to be noble, idealistic and heroic — if he really wants to make the world a safer place — he would use his considerable talents to uncover the dark secrets hidden in places like Iran, China and Russia.   I’ll bet they have some really great secrets.  But finding an accomplice to hack into their computers and stealing classified material would take real courage.  Steal secrets from any of those countries and there’s an excellent chance Mr. Assange would wake up dead one morning.  Break into U.S. State Department files and the worst thing that happens is that your lawyer gets a letter from the attorney general’s office saying play nice.

But what Julian Assange has managed to do, inadvertently to be sure, is blow up the concept of confidentiality.  If you can break into U.S. secret files with impunity, than everything is fair game – including WikiLeaks itself.

Wouldn’t you just love to know what Julian Assange and his band of merry men and women say and write in private?  Do they worry that confidential informants might be killed because of their leaks involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Or do they think that the death of a few people working for the U.S. government is a small price to pay if it helps end two wars Mr. Assange doesn’t believe should have been waged in the first place?

Ah, but those matters are confidential, don’t you know.  They’re none of our business.  They’re private, not meant for outsiders.  And WikiLeaks privacy must be respected.

Then there’s the New York Times, which ran the WikiLeaks story on page one, which I would have also done since the documents were being published in four foreign newspapers and could easily be accessed on the WikiLeaks Website.

But consider this:  Just one year ago, the New York Times environmental reporter, Andrew Revkin, refused to publish confidential emails from English academics calling into question some crucial research about global warming, a scandal that came to be known as climategate.

This was Mr. Revkin’s statement of principle last year:  “The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here” on his New York Times blog.

That was then.  But after WikiLeaks, through an unnamed intermediary, gave the Times those state departments cables, the paper said their contents were not only available elsewhere but were in the public interest – and therefore should be published.

As Powerline, which first noted the Times’ hypocrisy pointed out, “Without belaboring the pointy, let us note simply that the two statements are logically irreconcilable.  Perhaps something other than principle and logic were at work then, or at work now.”

That’s a pretty safe assumption.

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  • iaitsun

    GdCKC5 pscifqjigikz

  • kosozrooy

    mkcfC7 tjhmktaqjiff

  • Jeslyn

    Great article but it didn’t have everthynig—I didn’t find the kitchen sink!

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    SILLYLEAKS ALLEGE THE TV TALK SHOW HOST ALMOST ALWAYS GIVES OBAMA A PASS ON
    HIS MISDEEDS. HE DISCUSSED GAS PRICES FOR 10 MINUTES ON THE SHOW BUT FAILED TO
    MENTION OBAMAS ROLE, THE MORATORIUM ON OIL WELLS, SENDING BILLIONS TO BRAZILS
    OIL CO PETROBRAS. THE HOST SAID OBAMA GAVE A LARGE DONATION TO HIS FAVORITE
    CHARITY, CAN YOU SAY CONFLICT OF INTEREST??? ITS THE BIG EGO/ FACTOR, IS HE LOOKING OUT FOR YOU.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WIKILEAKS NOW RECOMMENDS TRAVEL DESTINATIONS, OBAMA, MICHELLE, HOLDER, AND JANET SHOULD VACATION IN BEAUTIFUL JUAREZ, MEXICO FOR A LEAST A MONTH, THEY REPORT A LOT OF ACTION DAY & NITE.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WIKILEAKS RUMOR. CHARLES KRAUTNAIL HAS TAKEN A JOB WITH NPR, JUAN W’S JOB.
    BEST WISHES FOR OUR CARTER & MONDALE GURU. CIVILITY +

  • Paul Courtney

    Took me awhile to think this through, but… maybe you or O’Rielly have the resources to look into this. 1) An example of “smart” diplomacy is Obama reaching out to Iran, supposedly reducing global tension. 2) It’s smart because world opinion, especially Arab gov’t types, holds American “cowboy” diplomacy increases said tension. One might find hundreds of examples of this sort of thinking in the Times, Post, and other MSM sources since summer ’08. 3)Leaked cables expose that Arab leaders don’t think (2) at all, they privately support “dumb” diplomacy. Is there any, I mean any, indication that the Times etc. is absorbing this info and reconsidering? If not, why not?

  • http://armour.ws Jonathan Jones

    “he would use his considerable talents to uncover the dark secrets hidden in places like Iran, China and Russia. I’ll bet they have some really great secrets”

    So you can disclose information on countries such as China, Iran and Russia etc, but when it comes to America… no, no … you can’t do that! Thats not allowed. What kind of hypocrisy is this? As for the NTY, I could care less, they have an agenda.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WOW, A SECRET TRANSCRIPT FROM ” SILI-LEAKS” HAS BEEN REVEALED.
    ITS FROM THE BERNIE MADOFF COLLEGE OF ECONOMICS. THE
    TRANSCRIPT INDICATES A++ GRADES ON STIMULUS, DEFICIT SPENDING,
    HEALTHCARE COSTS. THE TOP OF THE CLASS, BARACK OBAMA.

  • Mike in Iowa

    This whole situation makes me very irritable (which is also the gist of the letter Assange must have rcvd from the federal government in his C&D letter). You know, if you are looking for any credibility in the latest claims that Assange should be deemed a hero, or rcv the nobel peace prize, just look at the fact that he has Michael Moore’s support before the prison assigned nobel prize speech writer start his acceptance speech.

  • Bill Hurdle

    Please accept my congratulations on a precise statement of the morals and motivation of Wiki Leaks. I only have subjective suspicions, but I believe that Assange is driven by an ego need to conquer the “establishment” and thereby reinforce his feelings of superiority. The fact that the US is an easy target with no repecussions for success makes it the obvious choice for attack.

  • Cam

    Bernie: Having read your book “Bias” I have never (as advertised on the cover) read the main street media in the same light. In fact prior to reading your article I instantly noticed the difference in treatment between the Climategate files and wikileaks files throughout the MSM.

    I wish to make one small point which, I suggest, both the MSM and Wikileaks have in common. They both assume that the average Canadian or American are either naiive or stupid. They both assumed that the leaking of candid honest assessments by the head of the Canadian Intelligence Service to his counterparts in the U.S.A. would somehow create some sort of massive reaction among Canadians. The Canadian Intelligence Service had been asked for their assessment of Canadian reaction to a specific American policy. Apparently they were informed that they could expect a segment of the Canadian public would be opposed because Canadians have the hypocritical habit of receiving the benefits of security from American defence policy while retaining the luxury of criticizing America for those policies.

    Apparently Canadians were supposed to be “outraged” by this candid assessment being provided to the American Intelligence Agency. Needless to say there was literally no anti American reaction in Canada except for a few lefties. The reason is simple. The Canadian public (and I suggest the American public in analagous situations) are not that stupid. When American Intelligence asks Canadian Intelligence for their opinion as to the possible reaction of the Canadian public to a specific American foreign policy …… we expect out Intelligence Agency to either (a) refuse to give that assessment of (b) provide our closest ally with their CANDID HONEST ASSESSMENT. In this case that’s exactly what they did and incidentally there is ample evidence to support their assessment. Was the Canadian public outraged. No it was not …… were not that stupid. Anybody who knows anything recognizes that Canadian Defence is so intricately tied in with American Defense that objective candidness between the two intelligence agencies on such matters is essential.

  • Paul Courtney

    Bernie; Thanks for another great “compare & contrast” piece exposing the real problem with the Times. Those attacking it for publishing the cables don’t realize they are in the same camp with John Kerry and other lefties who think the gov’t should restrain Fox News. The Pentagon Papers litigation fairly settled all that in favor of the press, and rightly so. Contrary to Mr. De Barrows, these leaks are harmful to ordinary Americans, but nobody promised us freedom from harm. If these leaks ruin future confidences and make us look stupid, maybe a solution is to not act stupid! Example: If Arab gov’ts favor cutting heads off snakes, is it really in our interest to keep that confidential, or wait for someone to leak it to the Times? What good comes from letting Arab leaders off the hook, instead of forcing them to solve their own problems? They’ll sit back and wait for America to take out Iranian enemies of Arabs, then wail the loudest at the funerals of the mullahs and incite hatred of America for killing muslims. Unfortunately, we won’t see a leaked cable where we give the Saudis and Egyptians a reality check, because it doesn’t exist. Can’t blame the Times for that (or can we?)

    • JDO

      Are you really comparing people who want to censure the New York Times for publishing CLASSIFIED (secret) documents with the kooks who want to censure/restrain Fox News (and mainly their OPINION shows like O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck)? If Fox News had posted/televised all of these CLASSIFIED (secret) documents, I’d have trouble with that, also, even if (especially if) they used the lame “if we didn’t, someone else would’ve” excuse.

      • Paul Courtney

        Yes, and I still think it’s apt. I do agree the critics of Fox are kooks when they want the FTC to regulate a news organization reporting news, is that different from calls to censure the NY Times? The excuse you cite is lame, but the Times has a better one-it’s news, so we’re printing it. Bernie’s point is, the climategate emails were news, but not fit to print? Hope you consider my main point, which is, such leaks would not be news if our diplomats weren’t so pusilanimous. Thanks for your thoughts

  • Randy Kizer

    Our covert operations must really be weak if we can’t even make this guy wish he had another hobby!

  • Bob Ziegler

    Dear Bernie, As usual you’re right on target.I tend to think that people like Assange and others like him live in their own little mental microcosm, removed from the reality of the worlds situations. After 8 years of Bill Clinton’s administration and the cruise missile inventory depletion in response to Muslim terrorist attacks, (ultimately leading to the BOLD attacks of September 11th), the only response by the Bush Administration was to engage these extremists in a an all out war. They deemed the USA as Paper Tiger for doing what Clinton did (and he only did it that way because he didn’t want to have the mark of engaging in a war on his record) which was to lob cruise missles time after time. If numbskulls like Assange disagree with the necessity of war, and war is indeed always ugly, then they are certainly removed from reality of the situation. No President wants to go to war, but when provoked repeatedly you must engage the enemy.

  • Berg

    Keep in mind the the documents are just cables. This isn’t the real thing. It’s a lot of gossip.
    With that being said, I just wonder why is anyone surprised by the hypocrisy.

  • ssquared

    Julian Assange should be incarcerated with WaPo art critic Blake Gopnik.
    These two dweebs who can’t even qualify as metrosexuals would either drive each other crazy (a good thing) or produce an offspring that would be unspeakable and beyond disgusting.

  • http://www.bigbureaucracy.com/ Ellie Velinska

    Agree. However, my curiosity makes me wish the major US bank that will appear next on WikiLeaks is the Federal Reserve. Don’t you want to peek inside that one since we can’t audit it.

  • Kenneth Taylor

    I know I shoudn’t but I couldn’t resist smiling at one little nugget in the London Embassy cables;
    “The Pakistanis are worried that the Americans might drop in and take their nukes”

  • JDO

    Logic? Did someone (Powerline) actually put “logic” and the mainstream media (in this case, the New York Times) in the same sentence? Logic NEVER has anything to do with how the mainstream media operates.

  • Bruce A.

    Just more insanity from the left. What a shame it has to endanger lives of confidential informants etc..

  • http://orbis@bellsouth.net Jan

    Hypocrisy from the main stream media here, as well as the so called Department of “Justice”- Eric Holder, as no one is a terrorist to this Presidency in its far left lunatic administration!!

  • Kenneth Taylor

    The picture says it all. Forgive me for stooping to banal profiling but he looks like a sneak.
    Having said that the New York Times has a lot to answer for. There are billions of Dollars at stake with Climategate. Only human lives with Wilileaks.

    • CCNV

      I, too, thought ‘what a difference a little shampoo would make to soften the appearance of being a pervert’.

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  • begbie

    Well done, Bernie. I’d like to hear an explanation from the Times on this hipocrisy that you skillfully pointed out, since they’ve decided to take a moral stand on the issues as a matter regular business.

    Oh yeah, MIDGET. Had to get that in there.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/ Bernie

      funny (the midget line)

  • Scott

    I think this goes along with the Left’s alleged “artistic ability” when it comes to offending Christianity by desecrating imagery sacred to Christians. Those people are considered brave as well. Let them do the same thing to Islam and see what happens.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/ Bernie

      Precisely!!!

  • Kathie Ampela

    I loved this article Bernie, one of your best yet. What we’ve seen for the past 2 years is the phony nobility of Obama’s base, the far left. They screamed and yelled over the Valerie Plame “scandal” and yet are silent over the John Adams project. (Did you see O’Reilly last night when Alan Colmes tried to fumble his way out of his obvious hypocrisy on that one? Oh, the outrage over Valerie Plame’s victimization by the Bush Administration…but leaking 250,000 U.S. State Department documents is no big deal). The horrors of the Bush anti-terror policies..yet Obama renews the Patriot Act and uses Predator drone strikes. Where’s the outrage? And poor Khalid Sheik Mohammed. This is a disgrace to our values!! He has to be tried in civilian court!! Right..except that he has been thrown under the bus by Holder and the Obama administration until 2012. Can’t let that hurt the President’s chances for re-election. And where is the far left on all of this? Shhh, I hear crickets chirping softly…

    Here’s the bottom line: If it hurts this country and helps bring it down, the far left are all for it. If it helps America and keeps us safe in any way..no good..it must be stopped. America is evil, must be torn down and given away to the rest of the world. Wikileaks isn’t about transparency and information…it’s about destroying America. I don’t understand some of these commentators I’ve seen who seem to be downplaying this. I may have missed this, but does anyone know if Leon Panetta has commented on this publicly? What is going to happen if this lowlife Assange (or some traitor working on his behalf) hacks into the CIA’s computers?

    • Clarence De Barrows

      Very well said, Kathie: Now let me see if I’ve got this straight, ever since Obama’s been in office he’s assured us that he’s dedicated to “transparency and information” yet his actions, and those of the myriad of progressives surrounding him, consistently tells a different story. Wikileaks, simply as the messenger – they stole nothing – transmits information which, by and large, highlights the confused thinking and oft times juvenile transmissions of the “professionals” we have representing us and you become concerned because that information is now public. Information which shows these people to be what they are in many cases, something less than the consummate professionals we expect them to be. Get it straight, it’s not the average American who’s impugned here and our safety isn’t diminished one iota by the revelations and the world knows it. It’s the numb-skull politicians and diplomats we have representing us who, by their own incompetence and lack of diplomacy, embarrass themselves and the rest of us. They’re the ones making the ruckus over the leaks because it reveals their sad performance on the world stage. Even Bernie Goldberg, whose opinion I respect, admits that he would have run the information as the Times did as it was available elsewhere. Assange’s character and his actions are in no way laudable, but excuse me for saying so, to the degree that his actions along with those of The Times, Der Spiegel and 3 other foreign newspapers brought incompetence on the part of the powers that be to the attention of the general public they are of value.

      • Kathie Ampela

        It’s OK to hack into government property and steal information…no Assange didn’t do it personally..a traitor did on his behalf. It’s OK if you dislike an administration and their policies to break into government property and release information to the public that could damage our national security over the long term. No, I don’t think it’s OK, but that’s just me. I have no love in my heart for the Obama administration, but it sets a dangerous precedent when anyone can steal government property, damage our national security and get away with it. Charles Krauthammer made an excellent point last night on O’Reilly about how their should be journalistic accountability for revealing government secrets. Newsmax had a good article on the subject that turned up in my inbox this morning: http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/wikileaks-barack-obama-scandal/2010/11/30/id/378500 In a post 9/11 world, the thought process has been to share information as much as possible, not build a wall in between agencies as was the case pre 9/11. Now, thanks to our “hero” Assange how can we share information between agencies without compromising security? I think stopping the next 9/11 attack is more important than revealing classified information that wasn’t so shocking and that’s beside the point, anyway.

  • CCNV

    Even toddlers know to run and hide when they’ve done something wrong. Since putting a bounty on this idiot’s head and calling him a ‘terrorist’ is not politically correct, I’ll refer to this dipstick as a scum-sucking, bottom-feeding sexual predator. Liberals must be so proud of one of their own…

    • stmichrick

      Don’t forget that the sex charge is a badge of credibility on the left.

      The weasel Assange is just another tool of Operation Hemorrhage.

    • EddieD_Boston

      It wasn’t rape rape.

  • http://dailyhowler.com/ Wil Burns

    Bernie, What Wikileaks will at least confirm is that governments the world over are very unpleasant ‘organisms’. If only ‘We the People’ had any control over them.

    Now, there’s a laugh.

    That is because ‘the press’ is part of the conspiracy. The corporations control what is told to the public.