Why U.S. Journalists Aren’t Standing Up for WikiLeaks

To this day, I am still unsure of my feelings towards the WikiLeaks scandal.  A part of me believes that Julian Assange should be praised for exposing the truth and holding government officials accountable for their underhanded actions.  I mean, that is the very essence of journalism right?  But the other part of me, a very small part I will admit, believes Assange should have been more careful publishing such grave details, like the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs that could possibly jeopardize national security and the lives of U.S. solider’s overseas.  I realize there has been no evidence to suggest that the documents released by WikiLeaks have harmed national security, but I still feel that protecting the lives of soliders and U.S. citizens are important values to keep in mind.

In regards to the article written by Ben Adler, I believe his reasons explaining the resistance of American journalists to support Assange are accurate.  Adler’s second reason states that the notion of objectivity deters journalists from supporting Assange because they don’t want to appear as advocates.  I find this quite troubling.  Personally, I think the all-encompassing goal of objectivity is turning journalists into spokesmen for politicians and dissuades them from questioning political behavior.  Journalists should definitely try to include both sides of the story (this does not just apply to Republicans and Democrats, interview grassroots organizations, regular citizens!! Journalists give political officials way to much precedence when half the time they’re not the expert source or the most affected source, but that’s a whole different issue) but journalists should also be able to throw in their own analysis of the situation.

This article proved that official action was quite extreme.  I do think it would be a huge mistake to prosecute WikiLeaks because I think it would encourage even more journalists to conceal controversial information that puts government in a bad light.  This would be quite detrimental to the lives of U.S. citizens since government could more easily manipulate the information that’s released into the public domain.

Ultimately, I do feel that WikiLeaks did a service by publishing the diplomatic cables because otherwise critical information regarding our country’s actions would never have been revealed.  Maybe some journalists are reluctant to support Assange because they’re embarrassed they did not reveal the information first?  It’s imperative that the press reveals what’s going on behind closed government doors because the backlash stemming from their decisions will affect us all.

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About Laura Murray

My name is Laura Murray and I am a senior Journalism major and politics minor at Ithaca College. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a career in broadcast journalism as a reporter or a producer.
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