Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kingston Daily Freeman on Wikileaks and the New Media Order

An interesting analysis of the import of the Wikileaks story from the Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman:
THE online release of an estimated 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghanistan war has shaken the old order.

In brief, a private group — — obtained the records and scheduled the material for release on the Internet.

Yes, the White House, Britain and Pakistan were — and are — all up in arms at what is being called one of the largest unauthorized disclosures in military history.

But the organization also made the records available to three news organizations — The New York Times, the German magazine Der Spiegel, and the Guardian newspaper in London — about a month before the scheduled release. By doing so, WikiLeaks not only disseminated information to the displeasure of three sovereign governments, but also put three esteemed “old media” news organizations to work, effectively daring them not to publish stories on the documents.

NOT too long ago, editors at those publications would have been deciding whether and, if so, on what terms the public would receive leaked material.

In today’s world, all three organizations knew WikiLeaks was going to post the documents with or without their parallel participation.

In that way, the decision to write about the hither-to secret material was taken out of the hands of the old media editors by the distribution power of the Internet...
Or, as President Obama declared on ABC News’ Good Morning America: “...we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles.”