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Wikileaks: the end of journalism?

December 10, 2010

mashup from flickr sources bk-robat and espenmoe

Could there have been a more dramatic demonstration of the dysfunction and duplicity of journalism and the media than the current Wikileaks dustup? Journalism has been on the defensive for the past decade as it faces the challenge of social media, trotting out tired metaphors to defend its role in democratic societies: watchdog, bulwark, and the like. But now, even as they sell papers and gain viewers by writing and talking about the leaked diplomatic cables, the media have turned on Wikileaks and made Julian Assange into a 2010 bin Laden. Thankfully, there are a few exceptions, such:

As a librarian, I find the whole saga both riveting and appalling. Our code of ethics (the universal ethics, not the ALA version) dictates that we side, whenever possible, with those who support the freedom of information. One sees many librarians quietly supporting Wikileaks, but the silence from our major professional organizations is disheartening. As we watch objective journalism lose out to government-sanctioned infotainment, who will be left to defend our basic rights?

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