2010-12-29 NPR Fesses Up to WikiLeaks’ Coverage Blunder, Now It’s Everyone Else’s Turn

In response to today's correction from NPR of their Wikileaks coverage, Matthew L. Schafer at Lippmann Would Roll has compiled a list of other news outlets who should follow their example. While NPR's correction focused on the number of cables published, 1,942 instead of roughly 250,000, Schafer points out other errors that media outlets should avoid:

Moreover, many outlets used phrases similar to “document dump” to describe WikiLeaks’ publishing, which likely leads to the misconception that WikiLeaks did cavalierly publish all 250,000 cables. According to a LexisNexis search, on 397 separate occasions, newspapers around the world used the phrase “document dump.” ...

It’s worth mentioning that often the word “release” is not attributed. That is, the articles do not say to whom the release was made. A release by the website to the public? WikiLeaks’ release of the documents to the newspapers? Thus, a newspaper may say that it was referring to WikiLeaks release of all cables to its newspaper partners, but this is far from clear.



Shame on NPR. You really want to hope that this 'mistake' was just poor research on their part. My research tells me that the number of State Department cables released is actually 2244 as of Dec. 29. The 1947 'official' cables found on Wikileaks site plus 297 that were either removed or further redacted by Wikileaks or their media partners. As a consequence of Wikileaks making it exceedingly easy to mirror their site, cables that were prematurely released went straight into the wild. The default is to synchronize the mirrors so that if Wikileaks deletes a file the mirrors would 'reflect' this. More then a few folks 'out there' have cataloged every change and have made available the 'missing' cables.

What impact did this 'leak' have? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I didn't have to try that hard to find this out (but obviously harder then NPR did). So that extra info is out there for anyone willing (and able) to look. I haven't read all the cables by any means but I've carefully scanned the 'missing' ones for 'bombshells' but found nothing exceptional (just the usual lying, bullying, jockeying for position and pandering).

Sad to think that a basically well read, good with computers tinker could 'get it right' about the cables from the get go when NPR couldn't. Didn't people try to correct them? If so, why didn't they listen until now?

If only

At least we would have seen the full cables in less than a lifetime.

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