WikiLeaks needs to clean up their public face.

I really believe in WikiLeaks’ cause. It’s a kind of journalism that wasn’t possible with older communications media, and as such is definitely forcing us to reconsider our values when it comes to reporting, openness, bias, source reliability, censorship, confidential sources, and more. I’m convinced that it will serve as a great benefit to democracy.

It’s also under plenty of threats from those whose power is threatened by WikiLeaks. It’s still a budding tool, and has yet to become a major journalistic establishment with its own protections and stability. Powers are certainly working to compromise it before it can attain such success. They’ll go after anything they can in order to interrupt WikiLeaks’ operations or tarnish their reputation. In the meantime, WikiLeaks publicly spouts tons of arrogant, self-congratulatory, and tactless content online, instead of protecting their own reputation with an air of professionalism.

A few bits from their Twitter feed that keep setting me off:

US media end times: Boston journalism Prof. (former Pentagon hack) calls for WL prosecution (FOX, video)

Calling anyone a hack is not Journalism.

NYT ran a tabloid profile on WL trying to “balance” itself. Case study in bad journalism. Wrong from top to bottom.

Ethics101 for mainstream media: Ask not what llegal & illegal but what is moral & immoral. Recall that slavery was once legal.

WikiLeaks apparently thinks that not only should the media be judging morals, but that they’re in a position to lecture their peers on it!

If any publication says anything about us, unsourced, you can be pretty much bet that it is a falsification.

I don’t even need to point out the irony in WikiLeaks telling others not to trust unsourced claims.

I feel like WikiLeaks risks sabotaging its own cause by its lack of PR tact. I am not at all surprised that so much of the media is criticizing WikiLeaks. Hey, guys, other people want to smear you, yes, but you need to stop inviting it with your own tactless behavior.

One response to “WikiLeaks needs to clean up their public face.”

  1. I don’t think twitter is where professional Journalists publish their content, and I don’t think the individual that’s maintaining Wikileaks twitter account is the face of Wikileaks. The content that they publish on their site is typically much more professional (their full site is down right now for maintenance, what’s up is a temporary placeholder).

    I’ve noticed the person maintaining the twitter account often doesn’t speak on behalf of Wikileaks appropriately, for example when the rape charges were filed against Jullian Assange in Sweden, the twitter was full of incorrect information because there wasn’t a coherent view of what had happened. They later tweeted an “official” blog post to clear everything up. I think the twitter poster updates so often that it’s a bit much to expect it to be filtered by PR like other large organizations may do, and frankly, if Wikileaks did behave “professional” in this respect, it would make them seem more like a non-transparent entity than it would to better serve them, IMHO.