Monday, 24 October 2011

I Hope The Revolution Accepts Discover Card

If you've never donated money to WikiLeaks, now would be the perfect time - if you can do so without using Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or Western Union.

According to reports this morning, all of the above companies have decided to boycott and/or place an embargo on WikiLeaks after they leaked a batch of diplomatic cables. Julian Assange, the flaxen-haired space elf who edits everyone's favorite secret information clearinghouse, says the blockade has destroyed 95% of their revenue. Quoth NPR:

Saying that "an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade...has destroyed 95% of our revenue," WikiLeaks has suspended publishing operations and founder Julian Assange says it may have to shut down permanently by year's end.

As I was reading the news about Assange and his current predicament, something bothered me. I kept flipping back and forth between Assange's remarks as reproduced at NPR's off-putting "Two Way" blog and as replicated by CNN. Finally, it hit me. What are those ellipses at NPR trying to sweep under the rug?

Below are summaries of Assange's remarks via NPR (first) and CNN (second):

An arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade...has destroyed 95% of our revenue
Our scarce resources must now focus entirely on fighting this unlawful banking blockade. If this financial attack stands unchallenged, a dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic precedent will have been set, the implications of which go far beyond WikiLeaks and its work.
In both articles, the government's side of the story - that WikiLeaks is unlawful and dangerous - is well-represented. However, while CNN represents Assange's stance ("we are legal / this is an attack by the banking establishment"), NPR does not.

Is that because NPR thinks that Assange lacks credibility, or that it should be evident based on the facts alone that the government is in the right? If so, we have to guess, because NPR has decided to pre-edit their story to tell us what is acceptable and what is not. I would ordinarily have given NPR the benefit of the doubt on this question, but their recent behavior has strongly suggested to me that they no longer deserve this benefit.

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