The mainstream press and even Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have joined the government attacks on Wikileaks, but that hasn't been enough to protect major media outlets from the hysteria. Senator Joe Lieberman has called for Congressional investigations into the New York Times over its reporting on Wikileaks sources.
If this is a surprise to anyone, that political hacks would extend their authoritarian attacks from new media projects to venerable news institutions, it shouldn't. This is the logical, lumbering progression of state power, whittling away at freedom of the press step by step, tirade by tirade. It's a reflection of the urgency of this situation, and the need for anyone who cares about freedom of the press to militantly defend the freedoms of the new, digital press.
And yet: Silence. Silence from the bulk of the press corps. And outright condemnations of Wikileaks from the rest. There have been few voices of reason in this hysteria. Among them have been Glenn Greenwald and Jack Shafer.
It may be that the most damning revelations from Wikileaks are not diplomatic cables or military videos, but a clear picture of the state of the American media. As I wrote yesterday, this is why Wikileaks is being labeled a terrorist organization, and the mainstream press is not. Wikileaks has illuminated the failures of the mainstream press, and the backlash by top-tier journalists reflects their sycophanting and delusional relationships with government power.
The attacks on Wikileaks are attacks on the future of journalism. Media outlets who sit quietly while this happens deserve everything the Liebermans and Feinsteins of the world send their way.