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Mike Keefe | Comcast Merger / CagleCartoons.com

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WikiLeaks Hasn't 'Leaked' Anything

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  • "If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in "freedom" stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He's the one who should be in jail." --Joe Klein, Swampland (12/1/10)
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  • To treat Assange as a leaker when he is, in fact, a journalist is not only morally confusing, it's quite dangerous to journalists in general.
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Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

Actually, Julian Assange didn't leak anything--he can't, because he didn't have access to classified documents. Someone (or someones) who did have such access leaked those documents to Assange's WikiLeaks, which, as a journalistic organization, made them available to the world, both directly and through other media partners.

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This distinction, which is widely ignored in commentary on WikiLeaks, is actually quite important, because the ethical obligations of a government official with a security clearance are quite different from those of a media outlet. An official makes a promise to protect classified information, and should break that promise only when the duty to keep one's promises is outweighed by the public interest in disclosing wrongdoing. Journalists, on the other hand, are not in the business of protecting secrets, and should have a general presumption in favor of informing the public unless disclosure would cause specific foreseeable harms. The two ethical situations are pretty much opposite.

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To treat Assange as a leaker when he is, in fact, a journalist is not only morally confusing, it's quite dangerous to journalists in general. If the government can declare Assange to be spy or a terrorist because he's published classified documents he's received, every investigative journalist who does the same thing is in deep trouble.

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CBS almost reported Reagan was mentally unfit in 1986

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  • "I now believe [Reagan aides and his wife Nancy] covered up his condition, and many continued to as they wrote their memoirs. But then, the public knew something wasn't right. There were all sorts of signs. We all looked the other way," Leslie Stahl concluded in her book.
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  • Mission Accomplished: The Reagan Occupation and the Destruction of the American Middle Class
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  • How Republicans created the myth of Ronald Reagan
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David Edwards, Raw Story

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas SklarskiTwo sons of former President Ronald Reagan have been engaged in a public disagreement over whether their father exhibited early signs of Alzheimer's disease while still in the White House.

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Veteran CBS reporter Leslie Stahl, who saw Reagan have mental lapses in 1986, could possibly play a role in settling that feud -- or cause it to become even bigger than it already was.

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In his new book, titled "My Father at 100," Ron Reagan, who's identified himself as a liberal and an atheist, wrote that in 1984, he began to "experience the nausea of a bad dream coming true" with regards to his father's mental condition.

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The younger Reagan added that as early as 1986, his father had become alarmed at his growing lack of certain memories. "[He] had been alarmed to discover, while flying over the familiar canyons north of Los Angeles, that he could no longer summon their names," Reagan wrote.

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Mission Accomplished: The Reagan Occupation and the Destruction of the American Middle Class, David Michael Green, Buzzflash
The middle class is on its knees and shrinking fast.  Unions have been broken into irrelevance.  Government, supposedly an agent of the public interest, has become a complete tool of those it is meant to monitor.  Both political parties are fully owned by the oligarchy.  The public has been brainwashed into seeing its allies as enemies and its enemies as allies.  We have been drained of hope that any actor on the horizon can come to our rescue.

How Republicans created the myth of Ronald Reagan, Will Bunch, Salon.com
With the Gipper's reputation flagging after Clinton, neoconservatives launched a stealthy campaign to remake him as a "great" president.

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The World's Crisis in War Reporting

At this complex and dangerous moment in history, we must recognize that journalists around the world are failing in their duty as watchdogs of the people and that – combined with economic stresses – the traditional role of journalism is diminishing.

Don North, Middle East Online

iStockphoto/Salon

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As journalists are laid off and newspapers cut back or shut down, whole sectors of our civic life disappear from public view and go dark. Much of local and state governments, whole federal departments, and the world itself are neglected.

Politicians are working increasingly without independent scrutiny and without public accountability. Perhaps most alarmingly, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism abroad go underreported despite the billions of dollars spent and the tens of thousands of lives lost.

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Media Unwittingly Plays Republicans' Deficit Game ... Again

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  • Why were journalists and commentators so blind? I suspect it had to do with their desire to seem neutral. In order to show how even-handed and open-minded they were, journalists felt that they had to find Republican fiscal heroes. Reporting that the whole deficit debate was a political ploy, lacking any substance, would have sounded shrill.
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  • Molly Ivins on fair and balanced news
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Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co./Truthout

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John A. Boehner, the Republican leader, presented the party's new agenda last year in Virginia. (Photo: Drew Angerer/New York Times)

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Who could have seen this coming?

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The Washington Post editorial board was shocked (shocked!) to discover in early January that incoming congressional Republicans aren’t serious about deficit reduction.

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“You could listen to their rhetoric — or you could read the rules they are poised to adopt at the start of the new Congress,” they wrote in a Jan. 2 editorial. “The former promises a new fiscal sobriety. The latter suggests that the new G.O.P. majority is determined to continue the spree of unaffordable tax-cutting.”

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Molly Ivins on fair and balanced news, Entersection

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Balanced seesaw
Image credit: Pop + Politics

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The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is report what both sides say and you’ve done a fine job of objective journalism debilitates the press. There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. The smug complacency of much of the press—I have heard many an editor say, “Well, we’re being attacked by both sides so we must be right”—stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from someone on both sides, preferably in an official position, you’ve done the job. In the first place, most stories aren’t two-sided, they’re 17-sided at least. In the second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, “Cat,” and the other side saying “Dog,” while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes. Getting up off your duff and going to find out for yourself is still the most useful thing a reporter can do.

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