Did the Mainstream Media Fail Bradley Manning?Submitted by legalizeliberty on Fri, 03/01/2013 - 20:38
Alleged Wikileaks whistleblower says he tried contacting major newspapers before going public
By Janet Reitman | Rolling Stone | March 1, 2013
For over a year, the story of Bradley Manning has been covered by a handful of journalists, many of them young, independent bloggers or reporters who have tirelessly shown up at hearing after hearing while more mainstream press has largely stayed home. The clearest example of this came during the hearings on Manning's pretrial punishment, which I write about in the new issue of Rolling Stone, when – after a series of scathing tweets from some of the aforementioned independent reporters – The New York Times' public editor called her own newspaper on its negligence. The Times then began sending a reporter to the proceedings. Now, thanks to Manning's stunning testimony in court yesterday, we learn that both The Washington Post and The New York Times – the papers that broke Watergate and published the Pentagon Papers, respectively – were offered the entire trove of Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs long before Manning turned to Wikileaks as a last resort. According to Manning's statement, they failed to respond.
This is remarkable on several levels. Where Manning himself is concerned, many observers of the Wikileaks case believe his overall treatment is suggestive of a broader governmental agenda to put pressure on Manning to give up Julian Assange. In many ways, Manning has been a proxy for Assange – cast as a sinister "co-conspirator" in a form of technological espionage. In fact, Manning's motives, by his own account, were wholly mainstream. "He was a traditional leaker," says Michael Ratner, a lawyer for Assange who has monitored the Manning case. "He was 22, he had information he felt was important, he was upset by it, and he wanted to get that information out. He tried the Post, he tried the Times, and then he looked at Wikileaks. That shows the importance of having an alternative way of getting out information, because without Wikileaks, this information would never have seen the light of day."