The NBC News coverage I saw the other day of the latest round of Wikileaks releases got me thinking. One of their regular correspondents stated that “most people disapprove of leaking this material,” but I hadn’t seen or heard of any opinion polls about this. It struck me that the correspondent was not reporting on what people actually thought, but rather was telling people what to think. I realized that after the deluge of stories uniformly condemning the release of this material by almost all mainstream media outlets, polls would be taken, and - big surprise – most Americans would view Julian Assange as the next worst thing to Osama bin-Laden.
Since I’ve watched neither Keith Olbermann nor Rachel Maddow during the last week, I can’t write this with certainty, but having just visited their websites, it appears that even the two leading liberals on TV haven’t risen to Wikileaks’ defense. On second thought, this is hardly surprising, since if you believe the publication of these previously secret documents is a good thing, you probably believe that the established order is a bad thing, and what passes for the left on mainstream TV won’t go that far.
Common sense tells us that a true democracy, that is, one in which people have a real say in the decision-making processes that effect their lives, requires open access to information. A well informed citizenry is an essential ingredient of a democratic society, because people can’t make intelligent choices if they don’t know what is going on. Yet our leaders tell us that our foreign policy must be conducted beneath a smothering blanket of secrecy, and that revealing these “secrets” will undermine our existence. Further, we’re led to believe that all this cloak and dagger maneuvering is required in order to do good! But secrecy breeds corruption, tyranny and distrust. Just look at all the inequality, destruction and death such furtive diplomacy has brought us. I can’t help wondering when the Mad Hatter is going to show up.
I’m glad that I have access to the content of these documents. Lancing this festering diplomatic boil is a healthy development. The biggest problem with the Wikileaks approach isn't releasing these documents, but rather its inability to publish every secret document of every nation. What a revolutionary concept - the people of all nations have the right to know the world’s governments’ inner workings.
Some might claim this would cause war, chaos, or even madness. But given the state of the world and the direction it appears to be heading, the massive paradigm shift this would entail seems worth a try.
Finally, we haven’t heard anything from the tea-party folks about this. Anyone who condemns the leaks is, in effect, saying they don’t have the right to this information and they don’t want to know what is being done by their government behind closed doors. In other words, leave it to the experts and we should trust our officials. Yet, the tea-partiers profess no faith in Washington. They should welcome the disclosures as exposing the corruption they claim they wish to ferret out. I expect their silence will be deafening.