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While what they are publishing is true and should not be ignored, they certainly appear to be choosing their targets and not choosing others, for example, they claimed to have information from the RNC, but they did not publish it claiming it was already published in other sources.

The timing of the leaks was rather suspect too. In interviews, Assange insinuated months before during the primary that he had the emails that would eventually become the DNC leaks, but they waiting until after HRC was the sure nominee, during the DNC meeting, to release them. Procedurally, this made it so the Dems could not nominate another candidate before the general.

It may have been a coincidence, but they couldn't have been released at a politically more opportune time (for the R's) than then. In fact, during that interview, I recall Assange saying he was waiting for the right moment to release it. They aren't lying, and shinning light on wrong-doing is great, but the choice of when to do so and possibly sitting on information on the others who stand to benefit is suspicious.

> While what they are publishing is true and should not be ignored

Why does this matter? I feel like the reason people are worried about bias is that it means the source is not trustworthy. If Wikileaks is publishing true information, they should be trustworthy, even if their choice of targets is not unbiased.

I think this is very naive. Russia lists a number of true things about its opponents but it only includes the truths that fit the story it wants to tell. The same goes for China, and even the U.S.

What people here are asking is: "what is the story Wikileaks is trying to tell". Before they thought it was that "government is not trustworthy and needs a watchdog". Now it's possible the story is "Don't trust anyone who disagrees with Trump or Russia", and that's concerning.

This problem is instantly saolved if you have more than one source. The answer to this is not "IGNORE WIKILEAKS," and the suggestion that it is makes me doubt your motives, the answer is "READ MULTIPLE SOURCES."

There are far more than enough actors with far more than enough relevant information, and certainly the capacity to distribute that information, to fill in the gaps.


You can't do that when Wikileaks is the only source.

The problem is that other sources are not willing to perform the kinds of investigations and do the sort of publications Wikileaks and few others are willing to do.

When Snowden approached CNN, the Times and a number of other large media outlets they attempted to report him to the Feds rather than report on the domestic and global mass surveillance programmes.

The incentives, partnerships, timelines and ethics of major media outlets prevent them from speaking truth to power.

If the story was incomplete do you honestly believe we wouldnt find that out? I dont.


1) Wikileaks provides evidence of wrongdoing

2) You respond "Its possible evidence that proves this isnt wrongdoing exists"

Your position seems to be roughly meaningless and the only justification I see to take it on is ideological.

It's plausible that WL is selectively holding back documents on e.g. Russian activities in Syria. No one would have the power and incentive to leak those documents separately, so WL could portray an incomplete story.

It's not plausible that WL unfairly portrayed Podesta and the DNC by incomplete leaking. The leak targets have both the power and incentive to clarify any serious misrepresentation by releasing the context they already possess.

Somehow, I keep seeing people give the Syria example, then claim that we should disregard even the US-domestic leaks because "there could be context we don't have!" It doesn't make much more sense than saying "sure, the murder suspect didn't offer any defense, but maybe he has an alibi he never bothered to mention!"

The CIA could surely filll in the gaps if they wanted to, at the very least through leaks to any of the media organizations that would like to see them succeed.

Exactly! People say: "I think Wikileaks is not a neutral party". Dude, NO ONE is a neutral party. This thing doesn't exist! All sources have bias!

> All sources have bias

Some are more biased than others. I think that's actually what people are discussing: how biased is Wikileaks? How heavily curated is the information they are releasing? Throwing up your hands and saying everyone is biased is a lazy answer to a difficult problem.

Right. But it's curious that "How biased is CNN?" gets shut down any time it comes up as a serious topic. From the whitewashing they did on the genocide in Bahrain (after accepting money from that government) to the misleading coverage of Syria, Snowden's mass surveillance disclosures, US torture program, Iraq War - to its current poor coverage of the humanitarian crisis being caused by the US intervention in Mosul.

It would be wonderful to discuss the role that different outlets play and different biases come in. But it's difficult because any time the topic comes up "faithfuls" from all sides come in and it starts to look more like a sports or religion debate than it does an illuminating conversation.

Yeah, Wikileaks has some biases.

I actually think they are incredibly important biases. Also, I don't think they are nearly as "anti-American" as some panic about.

There is now some data showing one way CNN is biased --Breitbart and Fox News seed the media environment with disinformation, and eventually mainstream outlets pick up that disinformation. (Torture is a good example - the right really wanted to bury discussion and largely did).


Another way to say this: only one side is willing to blatantly lie. Luckily media outlets are starting to realize that and moving to coverage of the truth not just what people say.

This is whataboutism. (it may be inadvertent)

Firstly - On HN people do bash the media, but its based on the context of the conversation.

So on a discussion on wikileaks, very few people are going to make the side jump to criticizing the other media channels.

I don't think it is whataboutism in general. (It probably is if it's specifically targeting the HN thread, but that's now how I read it.) It's not just waving at someone else's misbehavior, it's noting that a double standard (examine bias in case A, acknowledge but ignore it in case B) is producing an agenda.

In mainstream discussions, there's a pattern of discussing WL bias against a baseline of whatever American mass media says. To repurpose a point from up-thread, that creates a situation where "how biased is WL?" is both a legitimate question and a misleading distraction.

If you want to create an informative media diet, you might ask "how biased is each source, in which direction?" You won't find objective truth, but asking that at least lets you curate inputs so that you won't have important information from any side go completely unmentioned. Lots of people I know do this, adding up equations like "NYT and Intercept both skew left, but one is largely pro-government and one anti-. BBC is moderately pro-government, but since it's a different government it reports US news better." Asking about Wikileaks is vital in that context.

If you want to distract from unpleasant facts, you might ask "How biased is Wikileaks in the direction of Russia?" And then the answer is treated as inherent bad - the more biased, the less attention should be paid. "All news is biased" is defeatism, but "all news is biased, how biased is Wikileaks?" is still manipulative because it ignores the magnitude of non-WL bias. I see that trick used a lot when US politicians and reporters cover Wikileaks, and it smuggles in an that we don't need to seek balance, just exclude a few too-biased voices.

My purpose was to talk about biases of media outlets in general rather than discuss the biases of one particular media outlet (Wikileaks).

Wikileaks has important biases. So does CNN. Wikileaks does important reporting. So does CNN.

Of course these are just two outlets. I don't mean to focus just on the two.

(Of the two I think Wikileaks would be the most missed, were it to disappear.)

My point is that it is incredibly important to discuss and take into account the biases of the outlets information is being published by. This is how I intended to discuss the bias of CNN and if you look you will see I brought this up under the context of the parent comments of my own. Namely, it is not quid pro quo.

Every news medium, even you as a human being, makes intentional and unintentional selections on what to publish or not. As long as the published documents are not fakes (and independent sources verified them), motives are secondary.

If what is published is true, projecting motives in the publisher are an obvious attempt to distract from the message by questioning the messenger. The message is a fact, your interpretation of the messenger is at best guesswork, at worst fanfiction.

What exactly is difficult here?

Are there? Because the only big ones I hear about are Wikileaks.

(I certain that more groups exist, but really, I can't name any others.)

The media.

I think a lot of what's being construed as political bias from Wikileaks is simply optimizing for maximum impact. They want their leaks to be felt, to have real-world results. If they were to just dump everything months before the election, they'd be long forgotten by the time the election had come and gone.

"I feel like the reason people are worried about bias is that it means the source is not trustworthy

No, people are worried about bias because the source could be selectively publishing truth with an ulterior motive, such as pushing a predefined agenda.

Propaganda is even more dangerous when it's true, but only tell people half the story.

Because what isn't printed is often more important than what is. That's what editorial influence does.

In my city, the local Hearst rag often doesn't report on things that the city administration doesn't want published. For example, a city employee was indicted for killing a girl and burying her body on city property (probably while on the clock) and was on "paid suspension" (i.e. On payroll, not working) for two years. Awkward situation for the mayor.

The arrest happened on a Friday night. The story? Page 4, section B on Monday.

In a story like this Wikileaks thing, the context is missing. How are these things used? To what end? Snowden tried to provide that context.

It's kind of the effect we have with BPA. As soon as the idea got widespread that it might be unhealthy it was replaced with other chemicals we know less about and that might be even worse.

Intelligence Agencies often use information to push their agenda. I don't see why it is different for Wikileaks which sees itself as one.

Hillary was under investigation throughout the primaries, and we know from the leaks that some democratic political operatives thought it was a bad idea for her to run due to the amount of dirt out there about her.

You are being misleading. Hillary has been investigated nonstop for twenty years, and their are entire nonprofits (Judiciary Watch) funded by the right to dig up dirt on her and her family.

So instead I think the opposite is true- the fact she hasn't had major (true) scandals (Benghazi and emails we know are trumped up) means she is fairly clean. Yes, she has some flaws.

It is unbelievable to me that Mike Pence was using his own private email to conduct state business _while_ decrying Hillary. How hypocritical is it possible to be?

And re dirt on Hillary, this puts it into perspective. http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/25/14037576/t...

Wow, the left are the new loony, tin foil hat conspiracy theorists.

Sure, it was definitely a "vast right wing conspiracy" (Hillary's exact words) that threw up flags when she opened her first ever trading account with $1k, turned it into $1 million in less than a year with no experience, or understanding of the markets (she supposedly started trading futures on a tip from a friend) and then never did it again because it was stressful. I guess that same conspiracy group were trying to go after this irrelevant governor in Arkansas for the other scandals going on during his governorship.

Then when Bill became president the scandals continued. People like you and Hillary want to claim this is some vast conspiracy by the republicans but the question any critical thinker has to ask themselves is why? Clinton was the most conservative president since Reagan [1]. Why on earth would the Republicans be out to get someone who's more conservative than most of their own presidential candidates? Like most conspiracy theories, it requires a great deal of faith in absence of evidence, motive or even logic.

[1] https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/was-clinton-mor...

Don't lump everyone on the left in with Hillary Clinton supporters.

I didn't intend to imply that all the left fit this. What I meant (and probably din't make clear enough) is that the right used to have the crazy "femi camps", etc. conspiracy theory wackos. Now the left has them too (they had them in the past but mostly just people who claimed to be abducted by aliens).

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What country is Benghazi in? What does the leader of that country have to say about how serious Benghazi is?

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