Wikileaks and the media: "She loves me... she loves me not..."
"So defending Wikileaks is right-wing and attacking it is left-wing now?"
That's Vox's Timothy Lee commenting on how the partisan divide over Wikileaks has flipped in recent months as Julian Assange's Wikileaks has been releasing releasing emails it allegedly obtained from Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta's inbox (the most recent email trove was dumped on the public on Saturday). Perhaps the starkest examples of this phenomenon in action comes from conservative pundit Sean Hannity, who six years after calling for Assange's "arrest" for publishing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that, in Hannity's words, "puts people's lives at risk," now praises Wikileaks for having "done the USA a great service." Hannity added on Twitter that "no one's been killed" because of Wikileaks, which is quite a departure from his claims in 2010 that Assange "puts people's lives at risk" by releasing sensitive documents.
On the other end of the spectrum there's Edward Snowden, who knows a thing or two about releasing sensitive documents at great personal risk. His criticism of Wikileaks' more recent activity, going at least as far back to its DNC leak last summer, has nothing to do with partisanism, he claims. "Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped," he tweeted, before adding, "But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake." The point Snowden's making—and one that's been echoed by many journalists no longer enamored with Wikileaks—is that the best way for whistleblowers to handle sensitive documents is to give them to a number of trusted journalists and organizations to release—like Snowden did, and like Wikileaks did initially with the diplomatic cables—rather than release them directly to the public in massive document dumps, like Wikileaks has been doing with the Podesta emails. "Throw in an internet hive of document-scourers, some of them interested parties, and you have a recipe for indiscriminate sharing, invasion of privacy and disinformation, at too great a speed and in too great a volume to be vetted," writes the New York Times' James Poniezowik.
Zeynep Tufekci, one of Poniezowik's colleagues at the Times and an information science professor, has been factchecking some of the most egregious examples where news organizations—either due to sloppy laziness or calculated partisansihp—have misinterpreted or outright distorted the information found in Wiikleaks' Podesta emails. But she ultimately holds WIkileaks accountable for this disinformation campaign, tweeting, "It's no longer age of information scarcity. Censorship works by info glut, distraction, confusion and stealing political focus & attention."
In other words, TMI is the new censorship.
In other news you should know
If you're thinking of picking up a paper copy of the New York Times, MSNBC's Kyle Griffin points out that today's edition "features a 2-page spread of all the people, places & things Trump has insulted on Twitter since declaring his candidacy." You might want to pick up a magnifying glass too, as that's a lot to fit on two pages.
"Well this is horrifying," says Brokelyn's Tim Donnelly in response to a Buzzfeed report from a pro-Trump rally in Cleveland, where the "alt-right" attendees adopted an old Nazi term for reporters: "Lugenprese." A white nationalist tells Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray, "It's a sly reference." Sly... like a Nazi.
As Facebook investor Peter Thiel gives $1.25 million toward efforts to elect Donald Trump, Politico reports that another Facebook legend—cofounder Dustin Moskovitz—has given a whopping $35 million to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. "Dustin Moskovitz basically just came out of nowhere to become the Democratic Sheldon Adelson," says Politico's Shane Goldmacher.
And finally: usually when Netflix posts new episodes of a highly-anticipated show on Friday night, it's a wonderful opportunity to escape from the bleak realities of the workweek. But not when the show is as bleak as Black Mirror which just made its third season debut, roasting our hearts into a blistered pulps with its cynical takes on how technology amplifies the worst in us. (For an especially "soul-scorching" episode, check out "Shut Up and Dance"). Not everyone was impressed by the new season, like Vulture's Kathryn VanArendonk. But I agree with Adult Swim's Jason DeMarco who calls the Black Mirror backlash an example of "'I'm smarter than the smart show' criticism."