Few will be surprised to know that Vladimir Putin runs the world’s most sensational kleptocracy, that the Saudis wanted the Americans to bomb Iran, or that Pakistan’sISI is hopelessly involved with Taliban groups of fiendish complexity. We now know that Washington knows too. The full extent of American dealings with Yemen might upset that country’s government, but is hardly surprising. If it is true that the Pentagon targeted refugee camps for bombing, it should be of general concern. American congressmen might also be interested in the sums of money given to certain foreign generals supposedly to pay for military equipment.
The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment. If American spies are breaking United Nations rules by seeking the DNA biometrics of the UN director general, he is entitled to hear of it. British voters should know what Afghan leaders thought of British troops. American (and British) taxpayers might question, too, how most of the billions of dollars going in aid to Afghanistan simply exits the country at Kabul airport.
No harm is done by high-class chatter about President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vulgarity and lack of house-training, or about the British royal family. What the American embassy in London thinks about the coalition suggests not an alliance at risk but an embassy with a talent problem.
Emphasis mine. I may get that tattooed on me somewhere. I was just recently going over a story a journalism student had written, full of jargon and self-serving quotes designed to burnish the ass of a source, and in the margins I kept writing YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE THE WORDS THEY USE. You don’t have to tell the story they want told. It’s not your job. They are not your concern. Fuck them.
Make no mistake: Government sources will talk about “responsibility” and “ethics” and wank on endlessly about how you need to be really, really careful not to destroy the whole world by publishing something they don’t want published, but most of them don’t give a damn if you’re ethical and responsible. They just want to stop you, and force doesn’t work so they’re trying condescension and appeals to the part of your nature that wants to go along and get along.
That’s all this is, all the whining going on today. It’s not about making sure America and the world have responsible and ethical journalism produced only by nice people who have their fellow citizens’ best interests at heart. It’s about making sure information they don’t want out there doesn’t get out, and for other journalists to go on and participate in the shaming of the Timesand for the Times to publisha big long editor’s note about how we don’t really want to do journalism but this asshole Assange is making us is just depressing and sad.
Grow a pair or get out of the trade.