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R.I.P. WikiLeaks?


Between Bill Keller's recent expose about the New York Times' unpleasant and bizarre dealings with Julian Assange and then Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview with the WikiLeaks founder, it would seem we're now just as interested in the man as his creation, if not more so. But his profile may soon wane, and not just because the U.S. is doing all that it can to put the kibosh on Assange and prevent future leaks. Wikileaks competitor Openleaks also hit the scene Friday, and the New York Times is considering plans to develop something similar for sourcing leaked information, which would cut out the middleman. For L.A. Times columnist Doyle McManus, there are still more signs that the WikiLeaks era may soon be coming to an end.  In a list of lessons learned from WikiLeaks, he includes:

We also learned that we still need journalists to decipher what raw information means. It's telling that even Assange, no fan of traditional institutions, felt a need to turn to old-fashioned newspapers and magazines to make sense of all those cables.

On our comment board,  "BillyH1" agreed:

This entire hoopla over Wikileaks is silliness at its greatest. Assange is nothing more than an international gossip columnist.  At the height of the Wikileaks story several weeks ago, it seemed that he and Wikileaks would expose malfeasance, corruption, or deep secrets.  Instead, the leaks have been a huge snooze fest.  The leaks are so boring, in fact, that the story has seemingly dropped off the radar of most news outlets.  The opinions held by the State Department about the character of certain diplomats and world leaders are rather insignificant "secrets."   Good old fashion journalism like that done by Woodward and Bernstein still trumps Wikileaks’ pitiful efforts any day.     

But maybe WikiLeaks is here to stay, as "MichaelJ.Cahill"* snapped back:

McManus' inability to comprehend this new publishing phenomenon is at the heart of why traditional corporate media is struggling so ineffectually to survive in the new environment.

(*Spelling errors corrected for clarity.)


Doyle McManus: WikiLeaks unplugged

Death by a thousand leaks

A WikiLeaks disconnect

Bradley Manning's inhumane imprisonment

-- Alexandra Le Tellier


Comments () | Archives (10)

The comments to this entry are closed.


My take on the recent shlump in news on the Wikileaks was that news outlets had been effectively silently-silenced. After PayPal and Visa and Amazon and Bank of America made their point, not without influence by the U.S. government, it seemed heretic or anti-American to even report on the leaks or the investigation against Assange. In that sense, what you call an equality of interest in Wikileaks as with the founder of Wikileaks, is what I deem popular journalists doing the best they can to keep the story in the news without doing anything that could eventually be considered deleterious to the safety of the country. I am not sure if I applaud those journalists for persevering, or pity them for bowing to inane public discourse on the matter.

Gregory Dean Lemke

Wikileaks well done. Freedom must come with a price. I hope your work continues regardless of a few in power fears of what may come from it.

In a small way we are trying to inform the America people of abuses in banking policy and how the foreclosure crisis to create less of an American dream.

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Gregory Dean Lemke

Dwight Jones

When a country has been in the grip of military dictatorship for fifty years, and will not admit it; when its politicians accept "contributions" and spend their days being entertained by "lobbyist", democracy died long before. Such wrods are not found in anybody's Constitution.

WikiLeaks is pure Tea Party reborn, a new beginning.


Someone tell Tunisia and Egypt that "the leaks have been a huge snooze fest." It seems like they snoozed all they way through overthrowing decades-'long dictatorships in response to the leaked cables.

Joe Riley

Nothing compares to WikiLeaks they are all imitators or jealous of Assange's popularity. I still hold Assange as #1 inventor of this concept in today's age and times and in my eyes he's a hero. This is what these times desperately needed - the ability of people to have control over their governments actions by exposing them to the public.

Christian Jones

Are you seriously quoting your comment board? Is taking in (1) comment from each side of the topic good journalism? Is that the "Good old fashion journalism like that done by Woodward and Bernstein" that Billy H1 was referring to? If so, remind me not to pay any attention to the LA Times and just take them as "silliness at it's greatest".

Me? I like facts that are juicy and tender. Nothing that's been spoiled by passing through the hands of bias and ill-purposed journalists. Yes, I like to cut a steak from the cow myself and decide how it tastes after preparing it in my own mental kitchen.

I think, going along with the theme of this being referred to as the "information age", that people are beginning to realize that the opinions of journalists are quite worthless. It doesn't matter what someone tells you the steak tastes like. Tasting it yourself is so much more effective in the process of self-education. I think this "lesson" that we are still learning is something that scares the journalistic world. Well, I'm sorry, but I'm learning that getting my facts straight from the source is the best way to go.

Also, I agree with Josh, that news outlets have just been "effectively and silently-silenced". Well said...


If WikiLeaks exposes the illegal dealings that are hidden in government as well as in business, then more power to them. Time to shine a light on them and expose them so the people will know what really goes on.


Just look at the revolts across the Mideast and listen to the people demands to see wikis influence. The people got to run there hands around the pants of the government and they did not like what they found. The information reveille so far has been controlled and sanitized but the controllers missed the conversation on the world wide web, missed the people discussion of health and fuel and food and war and religion all working to hurt the people, the capitalist system has gotten too predatory until now we do not trust the governments money or medicine or war machine because the outcome of every government or corporate effort is to enslave the people a little more. Wikileaks only showed the people of the world that they too had a voice, speak to each other the truth then speak to the world with one voice. Throw out the corporations that import instead of employ, throw out the corporations that only export and do not manufacture, throw out the corporations that do not employ your people. Today the corporations are the enemy of free people everywhere. Capitalism without a Union is slavery. Wikileaks real damage is to the corporate crooks that corrupt the well meaning servants of the people.

Fredric L. Rice

No, idiot. Wikileaks is *not* Mr. Assange. The Wikileaks volunteer organization can continue to work effectly on Democratic transparency without their bizarre spokesman.

The "OpenSecrets" and the plethora of other pretenders can't be trusted to be anything but theofascist governmentally-started or governmentally-infiltrated groups which seek to catch whistle blowers.

Only Wikileaks is, at current, free of theofascists.

40,000-ft. View

If you assume it's an 'era,' then it must have a beginning and an end by definition - please think about that. Anyway, one thing I learned from all this is that the U.S. government feels threatened by a single man who doesn't have a terrorist cell, much less an army, backing him up. How can the most powerful, far-reaching government on the planet feel that its legitimacy is threatened by an Australian bon vivant who runs a crappy website? Oh yeah, I think I know the answer to that question. Damn, I sure am naive! (And I know I'm not the only one.)



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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