27 January 2011
New York Times Robbery of Wikileaks
Bill Keller's New York Times screed against Julian Assange and Wikileaks only lightly touches on the money being made by the media from the Wikileaks initiative. Keller, like the Times's owners and their Guardian, Der Spiegel and media counterparts are wealthy persons thanks to a lucrative empire exploiting sources like Assange and the Wikileaks document submitters.
Keller owns two multi-million dollar apartments in Manhattan, one a penthouse, and another place in the country, though not quite as luxurious as the Times's owners, the principal among them one of the richest people in the world, not to overlook the mansions like that of millionaire journalists Thomas Friedman.
Assange's property consists of a laptop, a cellphone, clothes on his back -- which Keller ridicules.
Keller is paid millions per year in salary, perquisites and stock options. Until recently Assange worked mostly for free with handouts for expenses and places to bunk overnight.
Keller is limousined to work daily, Assange wears an ankle bracelet.
Keller has lunch in the Times's executive dining room surrounded by kiss-up officials and kick-down advertisers. Assange is on the dole in a temporary supporter's digs awaiting the hammer of justice.
Keller calls Assange eccentric as if unlike those inhabiting the Times's boardroom and executive suites.
Keller says Assange is merely a source, not a partner. And nothing was paid for the highly valuable Wikileaks material. Then slurs Assange as an unshowered slacker with technical skills Keller admits lacking -- foolishly thinking online-spy-easy Skype is more secure than telephone -- as well-barbered, manicured and perfumed executives often do when cutting personnel to boost their salaries and investors' profits.
Keller muses on imitating the Wikileaks model but says nothing about the money to be made by the rip-off, instead vaunts how the Times version will be more trustworthy and reliable. Even goes so far as to brag the Times publishes documents too, not just editorial gloss of them. Then carefully preens shamelessly about how the Times met repeatedly with US government representatives to vet Wikileaks documents before publication.
Keller disparages Assange and Wikileaks as dangerous amateurs, literally enemies of the US state, not his favorite journalists dedicated to protecting their homeland privileges and easy access to their powerful friends.
Keller announces an e-book about working the Wikileaks beat. But says nothing about the profits to roll in for that nor about sharing the proceeds with Wikileaks, Assange or Bradley Manning.
Keller's biased promotional gambit is a perfect example of rich media magnates who do not recognize their intellectual limitations at camouflaging venality and moral vacuity.
A writes 27 January 2011:
While I wouldn't contend with your view of the NYT, having no experience of it, the Guardian is not in the business of making media magnates richer. It is owned by a trust whose purpose is to ensure its survival and the continuation of its liberal editorial policy.
Thanks for your comment.
Same could be said of the NY Times, which also has a slew of tax-dodging mechanisms in place -- foundations, charities, social service campaigns (below) -- to protect its liberal editorial policy and tax deductions. These are quite common among venerable public interest organizations whether liberal, conservative, middle, outlier, maverick, dissident, transparent, FOI, anti-secrecy, and across the spectrum of info flow manipulation.
It is this very public interest scamminess which is endemic amongst those who do not really challenge the governments which protect their perquisites.
The Guardian is no less venal than the NYT, just ask those journalists and sources who have been screwed by it, and they are legion.
The worst keep their jobs and source survivability by subservience and obsequiousness, just as managing editors and publishers do to assure the value of their stocks and pensions and deferred salary payments.
Hmm, as do spies and their sources. Not much difference.
Selected NY Times-related organizations: