Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CNN's WikiWars is shoddy journalism

I used to think CNN was pretty good at news coverage. Unfortunately now it is just a broadcaster, rather than a news organisation. It hasn't stooped quite as low as Fox News, but it's definitely heading in that direction.
CNN Presents is supposed to be one of their premier documentary shows, where they show "serious" documentaries. This piece falls far short, with inaccuracies and misleading information galore. What's worse is that it is obviously pro-Military and pro-America and borders on being a hatchet job on Julian Assange. The entire show playlist is available here, and the full transcript is available on the CNN web site.

The sad thing about this "documentary" is that the parts it leaves out are quite serious. And the whole "Collateral Murder" segment tries to justify the gunning down of civilians in a civilian neighbourhood by claiming that it was a "combat situation".
The video shows yet another US Military f*** up: they do it all the time. Of course the "general" and the "marine" won't admit that on TV: I think they have lost the plot. Here is another report, this time by AlJazeera English:

Compare the poor quality of the CNN program with this one, which is about the same length but contains far more detail and useful insights:

If you want to know more about Wikileaks, Iraq and Afghanistan, read "Obama's Wars" by Bob Woodward; "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy" by David Leigh et al; "The Longest War: America and Al-Qaeda Since 9/11" by Peter Bergen; and "Bradley Manning - Truth and Consequences" by Greg Mitchell. Only the last book is not available in audiobook format.

Update: Unfortunately WikiLeaks used a previously disclosed password when they released their "insurance" file. So now anyone can read all those cables in unredacted form. That is monumentally stupid, and was obviously a serious security error. Assange cannot blame it on the Guardian because the data file was released to the public by WikiLeaks, not the Guardian. Relying on journalists to understand computer security or keep a secret is never a clever move.
Update 2 Sept: WikiLeaks has now posted all the unredacted cables. This is an act of monumental stupidity, endangering the lives of activists around the world, not to mention making the case against Bradley Manning much worse. I think its a desperate act, but it is totally irresponsible.

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