Thought I would end the year with my position on the Wikileak issue. I think it stinks and find myself in the weird position of supporting the governments' opinions.
I've written rather extensively on the subject of journalistic ethics and Julian Assange violates everything I know to be journalistically ethical. He is lower in my view that the National Enquirer and the paparazzi crowd. Wikileaks is not even a decent whistle blowing entity. It is a self-important, self-righteous entity. There was no thought, research or consideration to the consequences in the action.
What Aftenposten in Norway is doing with the Wikileak documents is journalism. They have their reporters going over the information to find what should be covered; what actually affects the reading public. That's what real journalists do.
I remember when I was a copy clerk in a daily paper and a reporter was looking for corruption in city government. He attained copies of city council phone records and was going through them a page at a time and after many weeks, he found the “smoking gun.” He could have just posted the material in the paper and let others do the work, but he was the journalist, not the source.
According the the SPJ code of ethics, A journalist is first to seek truth and report it. He is not to seek out opinion, which many of the documents leaked are, but facts. Assange did not seek out truth, he merely pushed a button without concern. And in that, he violated the second ethic of the code: Minimize Harm. Whole nations are now put at risk, not to mention thousands of individuals. Yes, some are just embarrassed, but many are going to die because of this and for no good reason other than to promote his own agenda. In that area he violates the third ethic:
Act independently and avoid conflicts of interest. Assange has stated he has an agenda, no less than any other idealogue. He is not objective.
Finally, he violates the fourth ethic: to be accountable. He is seeking immunity from everything, even his own personal indiscretions. He has no one he answers to. He is his own God.
So in the end, Assange and Wikileaks violates the very core of journalism and should not receive the same protections.