Wikileaks Quid Pro Quo

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A few FakeNews outlets like The Daily Beast, Sky News, Bloomberg and CNBC claimed that "Trump (through Dana Rohrabacher as the intermediary) offered WikiLeaks' Julian Assange a pardon... if he covered up Russian hacking of Democrats, his lawyer tells court in the U.K."... only the meeting happened 10 months AFTER Assange had stated multiple times that "he was 1000% sure the Russians" weren't his source, the Trump administration denied it, and Assange's lawyer that informed Gen. Kelly that "Assange would provide information about the purloined DNC emails in exchange for a pardon," but he never heard back from the White House (not the other way around). So instead of a scandal, it exonerates Trump as behaving better than Democrats (who did reach out to Russians over potential oppo-research / dirt). But other than getting the story bass-backwards, and failing to correct it (or correct it slowly), good job.


📚 References

While the term goes back 100 years, the history is summed up well in a Sharyl Attkisson TedTalk on FakeNews. While our media has always had false narratives and bad stories that are Fake News (exampled include: Edward R. Murrow's "See it now" McCarthy'ing Joe McCarthy (1954), Richard Jewel story (1996), story about a plane crashing into Camp David after 9/11 (2001), Duke LeCross Rape Case (2014), Michael Brown and 'hands up, don't shoot' narrative (2014), and so on). We didn't use the term "Fake News", just liberal media bias or incompetence, but it's been around since the first liberal got sloppy or partisan at a newspaper, somewhere back in Roman times.

Then on September 13, 2016 Hillary Clinton supporters Google and Eric Schmidt, used a shell charity (a non-profit called "First Draft,") to start seeding the term to attack right wing websites ("to tackle malicious hoaxes and fake news reports"). Hillary Clinton and her surrogate David Brock of Media Matters admitted in a campaign letter that they pressured Facebook to join the effort. Google warned Conservative websites to remove stories that Google didn't like, or they'd take away their ad revenue. And Barack Obama and the liberal media followed along, regurgitating what they were told: none were going to let this opportunity (to curate what information we could see) go to waste, all in the name of protecting free speech. All coincidentally done at the same time, in what could only be a coordinated campaign attack.

Unfortunately for them, it backfired when people noticed that the mainstream liberal media made more errors and was less honest, and started throwing it back in their face. Fake News applied more to the News, Google, Facebook, Obama and other curators and finger pointers than their victims. Donald Trump used that to hijack the term and use it back against them. The left tried to change the narrative and pretend that Trump had created the term, and they wanted to stop using it and claimed it was a hateful term and an attack on free press to point out the Presses bias or errors. And that's where we are today.

Do I like Wikileaks? Not really. Do I respect them? Yes. Am I happy they exist? Mixed. I think they've done a service by exposing some bad things in the western countries (especially focused on the USA). They've also gotten good people killed, and harmed western (freedom's) interests. So they're a cost and consequence of being an open, diverse and free society. China/Russia/Saudi Arabia/and so on, are more closed, have more tolerance towards oppression of speech, a more cliquish culture, and people know that leaking there means their death (or ruination). Whereas the west it's a gamble towards attention, book deals and possible fortune or at least being provided for (Chelsea Manning, Eric Snowden). This means that Wikileaks and institutions like them will always do more harm to open countries (and their interests) than more closed ones, that behave worse and need this kind of thing the most. So they can be a force for evil and good at the same time.