The government wins big in the Manning case. And the rest of us?

All in all, it’s hard to see how the trial of Private Bradley Manning could have ended any better for the U.S. government. For starters, Manning was convicted, not that the verdict was ever in doubt, with President Obama declaring “he broke the law” even before the trial opened, the president apparently having skipped the class […]

Media heroism turned on its head: The real Manning scandal

In media mythology, the years from the mid-‘60s to the mid-’70s were the classical age, a heroic time of moral clarity. Mainstream journalism marinated in adversarialism. Little Southern newspapers infuriated their own readers by staring down segregation. Foreign correspondents forced upon an unwilling public the realities of a brutal war. Network news ignored official disdain […]

Assange and Wikileaks: Time to Ask the Impertinent Questions

I’m badly out of step with my media brethren, since I find the fate of Wikileaks and its besieged founder, Julian Assange, a truly compelling story. Other media don’t agree. The pressure on Assange, who has taken sanctuary in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, is to them fringe stuff, a quirky faceoff involving a spectral, […]

Out-sourcing the job of muzzling the media

A comment posted to London’s Guardian newspaper said it best: “Censorship, like everything else in the West, has been privatized.”  The writer, somebody called “edensasp,” was referring to news that Wikileaks—the online whistleblower that has been embarrassing governments and corporations worldwide by disclosing their secrets–was suspending operations. Why? Had its leader, the mercurial Julian Assange, […]

The Times and Wikileaks: The Fourth Day of the Condor

It’s the climax of the 1975 hit Three Days of the Condor.  On a Manhattan sidewalk fugitive CIA analyst Robert Redford, having outgunned his assassins, confronts his double-dealing boss, who demands he join the sinister plot to control the world’s oil. No way, Redford says, he’s already blown the whistle. And the camera pans across […]

The Responsibility Trap

David Nelson died last week. He was the last surviving cast member of television’s “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which ran from 1952 to 1966 and, for us Boomers, was the mother of all family sitcoms born in mid-century white suburbia–warm, prosperous, toothless, responsible.

WikiLeaks, Shirley Sherrod and the arrival of the parallel media

First came the tale of Shirley Sherrod, a black U.S. Agriculture Department official in Georgia. She flared into national prominence after a right-wing blogger posted and pushed a cruelly edited videotape of a talk she gave to a civil rights group. In it she seemed to admit to withholding aid from a desperate white farmer […]