Washington Post and (lack of) Transparency

by Billy Beren on July 12, 2010

Glenn Greenwald writes today about a disturbing interaction he had with the Washington Post, trying to follow up on their coverage of the WikiLeaks / Bradley Manning case.

In its coverage of the case, the Washington Post quoted from chat logs between Manning and Adrian Lamo, in which Manning allegedly confessed that he leaked video footage of American forces killing a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for the Reuters news agency.

Greenwald inquired with Ellen Nakashima, the journalist who bylined the stories for the Post, whether the Post has full chat logs and if so, whether they considered publishing them.

Instead of a reply for Nakashima, Glenn received this reply from Kris Coratti, “Director of Communications” for the Post:

Hi Glenn, I was passed along your e-mail. Thank you for your question — we don’t discuss the details of our newsgathering.

Thank you again,

Kris Coratti

Well, that’s odd.

The media is usually the one clamoring for transparency, but here’s a case where they are anything but transparent. To me, it doesn’t sound like Glenn is demanding the full chat logs. However, if there is a reason why they can’t be released, he would like to know what that reason is. (I would too).

It’s an important matter. Now that Private Bradley Manning has been charged and is facing a military trial, the public would like to evaluate whether there was foul play in securing Manning’s alleged confession. Since the alleged confession was given in the alleged chat logs, having a full transcript of the logs, rather than the segments cherry picked by the Post, would be helpful.

Why would the Post want to hide facts, especially to the point of not even offering an explanation as to why they are keeping the facts secret?

Isn’t their role as a newspaper supposed to be digging for facts and knowledge on behalf of their readers?Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Perhaps corporate media, in particular and seemingly especially institutions like the NY Times and the Washington Post, regard facts as quite secondary to their mission.

In an upcoming blog post, I’m going to talk about an old court case where the Washington Post actually fought for the right to make stuff up in news stories.  Sounds ridiculous. Sounds like hyperbole. I wish it was.

Recommended Reading

For an excellent piece on the Wiki Leaks / Bradley Manning case, I recommend this video at Democracy Now. It includes commentary by Glenn Greenwald and also Daniel Ellsberg.

I also recommend Glenn Greenwald’s post on his run in with the Washington Post as well as his in depth coverage of the Manning case.

And for reference, here is the Washington Post article in question.

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