Picking and Choosing Which Journalistic Outlets to Treat as Journalistic Outlets

Tuesday, Philip Shenon reported that Wikileaks wanted the Defense Department’s help reviewing the next batch of documents it will release for names that should be redacted.

Julian Assange wants the Pentagon’s help.

His secretive WikiLeaks website tells The Daily Beast it is making an urgent request to the Defense Department for help reviewing 15,000 still-secret American military reports to remove the names of Afghan civilians and others who might be endangered when the website makes the reports public.

[snip]In a phone interview Tuesday with The Daily Beast, Schmitt said the site wanted to open a line of communication with the Defense Department in order to review an additional 15,000 classified reports in an effort to “make redactions so they can be safely published.” Schmitt said that these reports also relate to American military operations in Afghanistan.

It was a good play from Wikileaks, as it would place Wikileaks in the same position as newspapers like NYT and WaPo which occasionally spike information the government says is particularly sensitive. However, the government chose to pretend it doesn’t have this kind of conversation all the time, and also to pretend that it doesn’t regularly do FOIA reviews for this kind of information.

Instead, DOD spokesperson Geoff Morrell, doing his best Agent Smith imitation, “demand[ed]” that Wikilieaks return all the documents it has received, repeating “do the right thing” over and over.

Of course, no other journalistic outlet would do what Morrell called “doing the right thing.” (To the credit of some of the journalists covering Morrell’s Agent Smith show, they seem somewhat dubious of the claims logic.)

Meanwhile, DOD has also revoked Michael Hastings’ permission embed in Afghanistan, claiming the unit in question does not trust Hastings (though the move appears to be retaliation for Hastings’ refusal to cooperate in a DOD IG probe of Hastings’ article).

The government is not supposed to license favored press in this country. But what DOD is doing is choosing only to play ball with those outlets with which it is chummy enough to largely influence the coverage of.

Which I suppose makes it different than a license. It’s like a membership in a secret tree house that you’ve got to know the secret password to belong to.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Folks, as to Van Dyke, he is only being held no bail until.....the bail hearing Monday. There is no definitive order on bail yet.
JimWhiteGNV Okay folks, be sure to finalize your preparations for the day we celebrate genocide on US soil!
bmaz @CabouJ We have no bail on capital cases here either if proof evident+presumption great. But as to Van Dyke, there is a bail hearing Monday
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Who did they expect to be in a Taliban prison other than the very Afghans we are supposed to be protecting?
bmaz @katz_oversight @JustADCohen That is pretty sober critique. PERF actually does a lot of good work.
emptywheel @price_laborecon I have to do pumpkin for T-Giving. Spouse demands it. But I'm pretty expert pie baker @mariyastrauss @banditelli @KatiSipp
bmaz @_JGR I mean, in light of direct complaint+sole charge, I'd ask that question in any jurisdiction, but especially Cook County.
bmaz RT @benjaminwittes: Important informative piece for anyone interested in the relationship between refugees/visitors and terrorism. https://…
emptywheel @mariyastrauss Apple is definitely easier than pumpkin, even with a lid. @banditelli @KatiSipp @price_laborecon
bmaz @_JGR Right. There is a pattern here. If you really want a conviction, why wouldn't you plead the lesser includeds??
bmaz @JarekFA @JustADCohen No, a single count was charged.
bmaz @BradMossEsq @ggreenwald Anything to justify senseless slaughter I suppose. Oh, wait the Su-24 wasn't in Turkey space. Ooopsie!
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