The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Wikileaks

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2010 Category: News
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,066 times Debate No: 13926
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (4)

 

Danielle

Pro

There's been a lot of controversy over Wikileaks: an international media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks [1]. Recently Wikileaks has come under fire for releasing controversial material, such as classified videos and documents from the U.S. military, and evidence of politicians acting less than scrupulous, even to the point of having enough evidence to possibly warrant resignation for wrong-doing [2].

Everyone from Barack Obama to Glenn Beck has been condemning this website (hey they agree on something!). Even the politicians are finally coming together on one issue; Senator Joe Lieberman's introduced bipartisan legislation to amend the Espionage Act and criminalize Wikileaks that way [3]. Newt Gingrich quipped, "Information warfare is warfare, and Julian Assange is engaged in warfare... Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant. Wikileaks should be closed down permanently and decisively" [4]. Former presidential candidate and popular Fox News journalist Mike Huckabee proclaimed the appropriate punishment for Wikileaks founder and contributor Julian Assange is execution [5].

Of course I completely disagree; I think Assange should be praised as one of the best journalists in the world and believe receiving a Nobel Peace Prize is more appropriate than the death penalty. However I know there are a lot of "intelligent conservatives" here and regardless this is a bipartisan issue that has upset people on both sides of the aisle and all over the world. As such, I would like to debate the merits of Wikileaks with someone who believes Wikileaks and/or Assange should be terminated. While the law will most certainly be pertinent to our discussion, saying "it's against the law" is not a sufficient argument and in fact an appeal to authority when determining the merits of what should be.

Nevertheless I don't mind what contentions my opponent uses. The first round will be for accepting this debate, and Con can post any comments or questions he or she wishes for the Pro though I accept full responsibility to make the first argument (unless my opponent wants to). I will also accept the burden of proving Wikileaks should continue to exist and be available to the public.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.time.com...

[3] http://lieberman.senate.gov...

[4] http://www.politico.com...

[5] http://libertymaven.com...
rougeagent21

Con

I'm not entirely sure that I fit the "Intelligent Conservative" qualification, nor the one that I must believe that Assange show be put to death. However, I'll do my best to take up the negative side. Awesome topic, L. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

"Media is the nervous system of a democracy. If it's not functioning well, the democracy can't function." -- Jeff Cohen

Despite it's criticism, Wikileaks is one of the most responsible tools of journalism in our generation.

It's important to understand just how important of a role the media plays in our society. News organizations are responsible for shaping the way we view political candidates (many of whom we will never get to meet or observe directly) - the ones we elect into office to run our country and essentially forfeit our liberties to. Additionally news reporters spoon feed us cherry-picked stories, making some insignificant things sensational (i.e., George Bush choking on a pretzel) but leaving others completely ignored - such as innumerable instances of police brutality often completely overlooked... probably because reporters hang around police stations to be ready to pick up the latest stories, and such reports would create conflicts of interest or a less comfortable work environment.

Indeed conflicts of interest shape what is reported and not reported to the public, which can have detrimental results on a society that relies on the news to help make monumental decisions that affect the way we live our lives and perceive the world at large. Because of this, it's important for the media to be as fair and unbiased as possible, honest and relevant in their reporting. However, journalism has become an industry not about informing the public and keeping governments honest, but just another opportunity for competition and profit completely interfering with the integrity of such endeavors.

Rupert Murdoch owns 9 television networks, 100 cable channels, 175 newspapers, 40 book imprints, 40 television stations and 1 movie studio. His audience consists of 4.7 billion people - 3/4 of the entire world population [1]. Because of his strong ties to Conservatives and their platform, it's safe to say that the vast majority of his publications all have a particular right-wing bias - including Fox News, the most widely watched news channel [2]. Ironically, this is also considered the most biased news channel from the media watchdog group FAIR [3].

Why is this important? Wealthy individuals directly or indirectly tied to the media have founded and funded these think tanks that shape political discourse and influence the way people view particular people and policies. It becomes very apparent after understanding the ties of these people to politicians and other leaders that they have incentives to be less than forthcoming on various issues paramount to public interest. The fact that so many people (the majority, in fact) are receiving limited and tainted information that promotes a particular point of view essentially likens us to manipulated pawns specifically kept uninformed as if we belong to a less important under-class.

Enter Wikileaks. Wikileaks is a transparent, not-for-profit news organization that provides a secure and anonymous way for people to send information to journalists that otherwise would not have made the evening news. The anonymity factor is increasingly important in a world that seeks to stifle our civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the press -- especially because our less than ethical government cannot be trusted to simply not persecute you for truth-telling as they have done so many times before. However, unlike other anonymous sources, Wikileaks actually fact-checks all of their information, and further, provides access to their acquired resources so viewers can be confident they are receiving completely unfettered evidence.

The public needs to scrutinize information in order to have a better idea of the politicians and policies we help elect. In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government" [4]. Ironically, the government has the power to control what the press reports, rendering this a completely moot or rather obsolete point. In order for this to be effective, the press must actually have the opportunity to report important information and so far Wikileaks has proven to be the source for such monumental exposure.

Unlike other news organizations, Wikileaks does not seek to compete for profit but rather work cooperatively to help share pertinent information. This means they do not focus on hoarding information but sharing to help educate and inform as many people as possible. Because they are an independent firm, they do not hesitate to hold certain people accountable or struggle with asking tough questions regarding questionable business or political practices. As such, it becomes apparent that this is one of the most reliable and accurate sources for news we have today.

So far Wikileaks is responsible for breaking several stories regarding numerous instances of blatant government corruption. Quite obviously the government would render this information impermissible to report otherwise, leaving us completely ignorant and impotent regarding our capacity to make informed decisions. Because politicians are supposed to be public servants, the public has a right to know when they've been intentionally deceived, or when their leaders are acting completely unscrupulous.

Because the government has a monopoly on force, they cannot be responsible for holding themselves accountable. In our government we have a system of checks and balances, and likewise, media is a check on government so we can ensure those that work for us (employed by our tax dollars) are actually working in our best interest, and within the parameters of the laws they have established and to which everyone else is expected to abide. While their personal lives are irrelevant (and Wikileaks has not concerned themselves with that), the role they play in our government should be subject to transparency. It is precisely because of secrecy that we endure so much corruption.

Essentially Wikileaks is a haven for whistle blowers to be forthright and help right the many wrongs of our government. Consider Daniel Ellsberg who worked for the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. He came to possess a meticulous record of how the government and military planned to specifically deceive the American people. Upon exposure of such documents, controversy inevitably ensued, but it's safe to say his whistle blowing helped shorten the war and save thousands of American and Vietnamese lives despite criminal charges being brought against him for such heroism. In this way we see the issue is more than about demanding to be kept out of the dark, but also a moral obligation to save and protect innocent people who are affected by our government's dishonesty.

Perhaps the most interesting quandary of the whole Wikileaks debate is the way in which certain criticism has seemed so backwards. Secrecy laws are being used to keep the public ignorant and avoid accountability for those in power. While a few patriotic idealists may be swayed to cite the "necessity" of such secrecy for "our own protection," one only needs to look at Wikileaks' reporting to see exactly how those laws are actually being utilized and why. Upon revelation, you would think that a rational being would acknowledge the deception and feel betrayed by playing into their naivety. However many have expressed outrage at Wikileaks for having the audacity to reveal such abominations in an effort to maintain integrity.

Opponents of this website suggest that those who lie, torture, kill or commit a plethora of other immoral and heinous crimes against humanity are less blameworthy than those who talk about it.

[1] Outfoxed Documentary
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk...
[3] http://www.fair.org...
[4] http://www.law.cornell.edu...
rougeagent21

Con

rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Please extend my arguments.
rougeagent21

Con

rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Please extend my arguments.
rougeagent21

Con

rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I actually downloaded the to-date Cablegate archives from one of the Wikileaks mirrors, and I have to say: hell of a lot of reading. Some of it is pretty interesting, though.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
All 3 of my opponents forfeited this debate. L-F agreed to debate it with me though so I finally think I'll get a chance. 4th time's a charm :)
Posted by annhasle 6 years ago
annhasle
Aw, that was disappointing. :(
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
http://www.debate.org... Hmm....

Maybe this debate could come up again some other time?
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
"Joseph Assange, the wikileaks guy, is a total badass. Just letting everyone know."

Indeed. http://bltwy.msnbc.msn.com...

1. Just like in a Hollywood thriller, he's threatening to release a "doomsday file"

If you thought those if-you-mess-with-me-I'll-release this-and-destroy-the-world documents existed only in movies, Assange has promised to prove you wrong. He's already sent a heavily encrypted file of documents off to anetwork of people with the threat that he'll have them opened if anything too damaging happens to WikiLeaks. He says the files are so incriminating that they would throw the world into a state of turmoil.

3. He's like a homeless James Bond

Assange doesn't have a home, traveling from city to city and country to country with dizzying frequency over the past few years. A New York Times profile depicted him as a James Bond-esque character, checking into hotels under false names, wearing disguises, using cheap
disposable cell phones and paying with cash instead of credit cards.

4. He's been hacking since age 16, but stayed out of jail

When his peers were getting driver's licenses, "the Robin Hood of hacking" was snooping around the Internet. He was convicted of 25 charges of hacking in 1995, but managed to get off without serving jail time.

5. His friends say he has a near genius IQ

Assange friends say he has been able to hack computers and create WikiLeaks because of a high level of intelligence and willingness to blow the whistle on governments around the world.

Photo: Miguel Villagran/AP 9 of 12
8. He's made enemies with the Pentagon, Scientologists, and African thieves, and won some awards along the way

Wikileaks has released a wide array of top-secret documents, including the Scientology bible, a video of a U.S. airstrike that killed reporters in Iraq and top-secret
information about the war in Afghanistan. The organization has won awards for its w
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
Joseph Assange, the wikileaks guy, is a total badass. Just letting everyone know.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
Guys, these allegations are politically motivated and very probably false. They came out shortly after the first round of initial leaks on Afghanistan.

Every time anyone sleeps with anyone else, they run the risk of being labeled a rapist if that person turns on them.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
I have a zero I mean ZERO tolerance policy for rapists, but one HAS to wonder about the validity of these charges considering the circumstances. I don't know the details but I heard (mayhaps just a rumor, but I dunno) that one of the women has ties to the CIA which could make things problematic. The fact that he turned himself in is a good thing. Apparently he gave a bunch of info and instructions to someone, a woman, and Wikileaks will STILL be airing stuff through this ordeal. I'm glad about that, regardless of what happens to Assange.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I just watched 'The Insider' with Russel Crowe and Al Pacino. Kinda reminds me of the whole Wikileaks thing.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Daniellerougeagent21Tied
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Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
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Vote Placed by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
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Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
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