We here at The Fine Print have just received the latest batch of unedited cables leaked by the rogue site known only as WikiLeaks. This information is yet to be condemned by the current administration, but much of it concerns a certain government-sponsored facility in Iran. Below you’ll find a description of said facility, which for the sake of clarity we’ve edited down to the core transcription. Specific names have also been removed for legal reasons, as well as to protect the lives of Americans abroad.
In a September 27 meeting, Ambassador XXXXX congratulated Tehran on completion of their Doomsday Base. The product of 50 years of research and development, the Doomsday Base represents the culmination of the nation’s nuclear ambitions. Ambassador XXXXX applauded the highly advanced security equipment, powered by a 2 000 MW reactor within the facility (located approximately 300 km beneath the Zargos Mountain range). Most notably, Ambassador XXXXX was visibly taken aback by the 54 000 kg nuclear warhead situated within the core of the base. There was no mention of potential targets.
Washington can rest easy – looks like this leak actually supports a few things they’ve said. If the outrageous numbers were not enough, the above was an attempt at some poor humor. Unfortunately, the same sense of humor has no place around the actual cables.
Say what you will about treason or Julian Assange’s sex life, I’m constantly amazed at how we can turn away from the unreported (and in most cases actively concealed) cases of torture, corruption and murder. Instead of asking ourselves why a government deceives its citizens, we waste our best arguments deciding whether this knowledge deserves to be public. I don’t understand how this is even a question. Shouldn’t we be a little more preoccupied with the information they contain?
I’ve tried to take lessons from how the mainstream media has handled the recent flood of WikiLeaks. There are many examples where writers incorporate the leaked information into a quality article, but there are far more who exclude some of the much needed context. I wasn’t too surprised. I think the last time we got an update on Haiti’s recovery was when Sarah Palin visited, and then the discussion suddenly shifted to why FOX News was granted exclusive coverage.
In late January, Julian Assange said in an interview that the “manipulation of information by media is more dangerous than manipulation by governments.” We’ve reached a point in which the mainstream media itself, and not just the government, is an institution that needs to be held accountable.
In Dec. 2009, a managing editor of FOX News sent an email to his reporters and staff, ordering them to immediately present the objections of “critics” anytime they report on climate change data. That same managing editor, Bill Sammons, also ordered his reporters not to use the term “public option” when discussing health care reform, and instead to use a variation of the term “government option.” When did major news outlets turn into public relations agencies?
With raw information readily available worldwide, it’s time for independent journalists — and ordinary citizens — to take back the fourth estate.
Note: The byline of this article has been omitted to preserve the safety of its writers, Travis Epes and Henry Taksier.