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The Mix: Wikileaks Week

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome to It's A Free Country's The Mix, where we take some of the notable clips and other voices found on WNYC this week and mix 'em up. This week, it's all Wikileaks. The Brian Lehrer Show covered the story of the diplomatic cables every day, with a variety of voices, and watched as the conversation moved from the content of the cables to questions over Wikileaks role in our new media landscape. As always, characters in blue, connections in italics.

One clear Wikileaks critic is Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs Magazine and the author of How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle. He sees Julian Assange as having a questionable agenda, and also wonders about the dangers presented by the level of disclosure and transparency in the cables. That transparency also gives George Packer of the New Yorker pause. Diplomats around the world may think twice about how they approach our allies. Speaking of diplomats and leaks, former Ambassador Joe Wilson discussed the role of secrets in high level diplomacy, and how leaked information affected his work and that of his wife, Valerie Plame. It's one thing for Wikileaks to provide the raw diplomatic cables, and another for newspapers to publish stories using the information. And in there Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, sees a key distinction. That distinction -- and that argument -- is a fallacy to Glenn Greenwald of Salon, who argues that Wikileaks is performing much the same service as a news organization and, more importantly, is shedding light on dubious government practices. Plenty of Wikileaks supporters see a parallel to 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers and changed the course of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg suffered some retribution for his actions, but in the Internet era, pushback can go viral, and Marcia Hoffman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks the stakes couldn't be higher. Stay tuned for more next week from It's A Free Country...

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