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As journalism fails us, WikiLeaks fills in the gaps

Sam Jones, Opinions editor

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It’s a bleak time for hard-hitting news from traditional outlets. The Huffington Post, CNN, and Buzzfeed repeatedly publish clickbait articles while ignoring key issues. However, a bright beacon of digital hope still exists.

In 2006, the groundbreaking website WikiLeaks paved the way to a more informed, less misguided public audience.

Founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, bravely exposed the atrocities of the Iraq and Afghan wars during the 2010 Cablegate leak. For over 10 years his website has published what American media will not. News outlets like CNN choose to focus on Assange’s personal life rather than the hard hitting news his website publishes.

Stories are consistently produced discrediting WikiLeaks and placing the website into the realm of conspiracy theory, distracting attention away from the real mission of exposing injustice.

Now more than ever, WikiLeaks should be acknowledged, filling in the gaps where journalism has failed to expose government corruption and shady business deals.

The national media completely failed in Flint, MI, to report the dangerous lead-ridden water until a state of emergency was declared. A lack of proactive reporting allowed an already disastrous situation to reach critical levels of emergency. Even on a national level, American journalists are failing to unmask injustice.

WikiLeaks stands at the forefront of exposing transgressions. In August, WikiLeaks leaked over 20,000 emails of prominent Democratic National Committee members, one of which was Amy Dacey, the ex-CEO of the committee. The emails contained evidence of the DNC actively attempting to undermine Bernie Sanders, a clear breach of ethics.

The media should have spent news cycles examining the documents that were released, but instead they feigned ignorance of the majors issues while shaming WikiLeaks. By not promoting stories of corruption, media outlets are actively promoting ignorance. Combined with CNN’s active dismissal of WikiLeaks as an untrustworthy source, Americans are being dangerously under-informed.

The Washington Times reports an all-time low in Americans’ faith in mass media with only 32 percent admitting a “great or fair trust in the media.” Even with media taking a backseat to real issues WikiLeaks is still mistakenly vilified as untrustworthy.

Where journalism ignores larger stories, intentionally or not, WikiLeaks steps in and tells the real story. Wikileaks does what the mass media is supposed to.

The US government is not the only entity that attempts to discredit WikiLeaks. Big businesses stifle the organization. In 2010, Paypal wouldn’t allow members to donate money to the site, even though the site has never officially been charged with a crime.

America is strongly outspoken in calling out WikiLeaks for supposed crimes. The FBI has an open investigation against Assange, and the Swedish government is attempting to extradite the website’s founder.

The witch hunt has implications far within the government, with the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee deeming WikiLeaks a “foreign terrorist organisation.”    

WikiLeaks has faced severe backlash from high ranking officials, like those within the DNC, who allege that the WikiLeaks site is full of malware as well as Hillary Clinton who has pushed for the prosecution of those who produce the site.

Public figures have an obvious conflict of interest with WikiLeaks. It is time for a stronger rallying cry around the “radical transparency” that WikiLeaks publicizes. Normal, everyday people should look to WikiLeaks as a source of clarity in an avalanche of poor journalistic practices and insufficient online sources. WikiLeaks needs more respect and more representation among larger news sources.

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As journalism fails us, WikiLeaks fills in the gaps