Partial Objects notes the rank hypocrisy as the Wall Street Journal unveils “Safe House”, its new WikiLeaks-lite website. (Whistle-blowers, submit your juicy classified documents and emails!) Of course, the WSJ may report tipsters to law enforcement and “third parties”:
The WSJ calls for Assange to be indicted, elaborating on the difference between him and regular media (they use the NYT as their counterexample).
Yet the WSJ also announces the start of their new site, Safe House:
Documents and databases: They’re key to modern journalism. But they’re almost always hidden behind locked doors, especially when they detail wrongdoing such as fraud, abuse, pollution, insider trading, and other harms. That’s why we need your help. If you have newsworthy contracts, correspondence, emails, financial records or databases from companies, government agencies or non-profits, you can send them to us using the SafeHouse service.
The easy criticism is that the Journal, i.e. Murdoch, is being hypocritical. But no good deed goes unpunished: the difference is that Assange has set up Wikileaks so that the attention is on himself. That may sound like arrogance, but it’s also a technical maneuver: if the focus is on him, it’s not on the person who leaked him the information.
Safe House is explicitly the opposite:
You agree not to use SafeHouse for any unlawful purpose… we reserve the right to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities or to a requesting third party, without notice.
Assange and Murdoch represent two extreme ends of a spectrum. Assange has declared himself anti-US, and Wikileaks is his weapon. Murdoch is explicity pro-US, and any information he receives will be filtered accordingly. In other words, neither represent journalism in any meaningful way. They are both commentary.