Listening Post
Missing the mark on WikiLeaks
Has the media become more interested in the life of WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange than the deaths of 109,000 Iraqis?
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2010 07:19 GMT

This week on the Listening Post we take a look at the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, and how its most recent release - the Iraq war logs - played out in the electronic media. Then we turn our attention to people who have been producing viral web videos with a message.

There has been another deluge of information released on WikiLeaks - this time about the war in Iraq. Again the site collaborated with the mainstream media and again the stories that resulted focused largely on Julian Assange. The site released around 400,000 classified documents that indicated the US military turned a blind eye to the torture and murder of its former captives and had misrepresented the death toll since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

While the release of the Afghan war logs saw WikiLeaks team up with print media, this time out the whistle-blowing website teamed up with television and online media as well. But many of the resulting stories focused on Assange's character as much as they did the contents of the leaked documents. Has the media missed the mark or has WikiLeaks front man become a liability for the organisation? Our News Divide this week looks at how the media has become more interested in the life of one man, than the deaths of 109,000 Iraqis.

In this week's newsbytes: The Ha'aretz reporter who fled to the UK to avoid prosecution for allegedly accepting classified Israeli military documents returns to Israel; an article in a Ugandan newspaper leads to the harassment of homosexuals there; media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders releases their ninth annual Index on Press Freedom; and the former Australian prime minister has a more than tough questions thown at him on a talk show.

Last week we looked the way corporations are using viral web videos to sell everything from MP3 players to soft drinks. This week we look at a new breed of viral videos that feature a fusion of music and current affairs: rappers teaming up with a political analysts, an economist with a television producer and some Brooklyn based musicians creating a different kind of political harmony. The Listening Post's Jason Mojica reports on the people behind the web videos that attract big numbers with big ideas.

Our Internet Video of the Week is an offshoot of a 1982 Michael Jackson hit. In the late musician's music video for Beat it, it was LA gangsters who came face to face. In our Internet Video of the Week, Tweet it, it is techy Apple geeks who cannot seem to get along. The knives have been substituted with iPhones and iPads but the beat is still the same.

This episode of the Listening Post aired from Friday, October 29.

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