The mere word causes an emotional reaction, depending on where you stand in the political spectrum.
We are told that the consistent mass downloading of confidential and classified materials by WikiLeaks is dangerous and has put governmental relationships and even lives in danger.
I believe that is probably true -- in minimal circumstances.
What many people don’t really understand is that a large number of “classified” documents aren’t really secret at all.
A recent Associated Press article pointed out what many of us in the journalism field have known for a long time -- sometimes classified documents contain little more than summaries of news articles and press reports. Their review of some of the WikiLeaks documents point out several instances in which the documents in question contained obvious information.
The federal government has gotten away for far too long in keeping many things secret they have no business keeping secret. Anything can be kept secret or “classified” at a powerful politician’s whim. By clamping down on information, the government has set itself up to be the victim of many a conspiracy theory. A lot of people are very suspect of the information the government is providing -- or not providing -- all in the name of national security.
Now, that doesn’t absolve WikiLeaks or media outlets participating with WikiLeaks from doing their due diligence in deciding what to report and what not to report.
In the good old days, if a news outlet had information the government had been trying to keep under wraps, editors would typically call up the government officials and request a sit down.
That is what seems to be the missing piece in all the latest WikiLeaks controversy. Who is minding the store? Who is making valid and good news judgments when it comes to providing information to the public?
News organizations and government officials have had and always will have a certain adversarial relationship with one another -- however, the public is best served when the media and government officials at least try to work together.
News organizations have an obligation to give government officials a chance to make their case before releasing sensitive information. I know the New York Times sat down with members of the Bush administration over release of some sensitive materials a few years ago. While the Bush administration didn’t want any information released, the Times made another judgment and did release information regarding the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping on phone calls without a court-approved warrants.
That’s a judgment call that has to be made. News organizations have an obligation to let the government officials give a reasonable and understandable explanation of why certain information needs to remain secret. It does call for a certain trusting relationship between those news organization leaders. And, sometimes, compromise is called for.
That is where organizations like WikiLeaks can wreak the most peril. This Julian Assange guy doesn’t have any interest in trying to make good, reasonable judgments about releasing sensitive information. He is not a journalist -- he’s an Internet activist and he’s a “gotcha” specialist. He has an agenda, and that is to wreak havoc on a government or a political agenda he disagrees with.
There is no trust factor between Julian Assange and government officials. But, there should be a relationship between government officials and many of the media outlets who are partnering with Assange on this WikiLeaks deal.
Government officials will never want information to be made public. They will do all they can, including classifying things that have no business being classified, to protect themselves and their own little fiefdoms. And news organizations have an obligation to keep them accountable.
But, there are proper ways to handle sensitive information. Unfortunately, that responsibly seems to have been abdicated.
Cindy Allen is managing editor of the Enid News & Eagle. She can be reached at 548-8163 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David, Goliath at it again in Gaza Strip
Israel has long seen itself as David, standing firm against a hostile neighborhood full of Goliaths.
DHS must come up with future plans for NORCE, SORC facilities after they are closed
NORCE is scheduled to close in August 2015. Currently, 15 residents remain at the facility, awaiting transfer to a private setting, and there also are 60 state employees on the NORCE payroll.
Never leave a child or a pet alone in a car
With temperatures soaring to near or above 100, parents need to know they can’t leave their children alone in a locked vehicle. In 10 minutes, a vehicle’s temperature can climb 19 degrees. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, and it only takes a few minutes before a child can become dangerously overheated, according to Safe Kids USA.
Will Rogers Daily Telegrams 7-24-2014
I am beginning to believe that Mellon is the poorest Treasurer we ever had. I would like to be Treasurer. Here would be my policy, and you see if it wouldn’t be the best thing for America:
Save nothing, have nothing in there. Then Congress and the entire nation could have nothing in view only what they made themselves.
State of the state: Things are not as good as they could be
Draper wants to split Cali up into six separate states — Silicon Valley, around the San Francisco Bay Area; Central California, including cities like Bakersfield; West California, including Los Angeles and its suburbs; South California, including San Diego; North California, centered on Sacramento and Jefferson, in the far northern part of the state.
Voters have decisions to make in August races
Democrats will have two runoffs to decide. One will be choosing their party’s nominee for state superintendent. Freda Deskin will face John Cox. The winner will face Republican nominee Joy Hofmeister in the November general election.
The other race is for the party nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. Jim Rogers will face Connie Johnson. The winner will face Republican nominee U.S. Rep. James Lankford in November.
Waukomis residents have the opportunity to have their voices heard in regard to the future of their post office.
Breaking ground on a new dormitory at Northern Oklahoma College Enid is another step in the evolution of the campus.
Stars in our eyes
We caught the vision when, in May of 1961, John F. Kennedy told Congress, and the world, that the space race was no longer to be so one-sided.
“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” he said.
Thumbs up for northwest Okla. communities, where net taxable sales figures are up
Net taxable sales were up $1,917,774 in Enid, when compared to sales reported in July 2013. The increase amounted to a 2.6 percent increase in sales tax revenue for the city.
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- David, Goliath at it again in Gaza Strip