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Re: <nettime> Steve Coll: Leaks (The New Yorker)
John Young on Mon, 15 Nov 2010 04:52:23 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Steve Coll: Leaks (The New Yorker)


The gradual takeover of public discource by the catchily named 
media -- a large fish which has swallowed journalism, entertainment, 
education and advertising, the latter being the principal format -- has 
led to bellyaching about the media's failure to do what it is allegedly 
supposed to do -- which its smaller fish once did. But the big fish is 
doing just what it is supposed to do, dominate public understanding 
of "what's going on."

Leaks about the Iraq and Afghan wars have been continual from the
very beginning, all carefully controlled by the gov-mil by managing
participation of those reporting on the wars -- journalists, bureaucrats,
officeholders, distinguished visitors, humanitarian orgs, the whole lot
were able to gain access only by doing what the war managers
required, driven to obedience by fear managed to do just that.

It should be understood that the Wikileaks material about the wars
are similarly controlled. They represent a tiny portion of the information
made available from a flood of sources, most overlooked, and have 
been hautely coutured by Wikileaks to appear more glamorous than 
they are, following the model of the media to exaggerate its produce 
for maximum public attention and consumption. 

Wikileaks lies as much as the media, indeed, exactly in the advertising 
format of the media. Its consumers like it for that very reason. It rides 
the wave of imaginary disgust with MSM and governments, but it has 
not modified the formula of braggardy and drama essential to capture 
eyeballs and through eyeballs, minds and hearts.

What drives the success of media and Wikileaks is the consumerist 
desire for quickest gratification, avoidance of boredom, refusal of doing
for yourself what others offer so appealingly packaged as what else,
journalism, entertainment and education (assume "higher" before each).


Wikileaks is a child of media not an alternative. Read its latest
elaborate description of what it is and how it works. Pure bullshit
auto-didactic senior thesis material, as Carl might say. But bullshit 
appeals and sells like nothing else, a favorite joke of Mad Men,
The Onion, Stewart, Colbert and the other get rich quick spoofers.

It is a dream to imagine that journalism, entertainment, education
and advertising are any longer separate, and that advertising is
not the dominant force whereever it invades, so quickly has the
Internet succumbed to its irresistable power where free means
imprisonment by habit.

Bluntly, journalism, entertainment and education are managed
as products for sale, the dressing up as public benefit is costuming.
Note the composite brand name Wiki-leaks, plagiarized hot shit from 
those three precursors from day one. Assange predicted it to be a 
big moneymaker and it is -- for him, screw the help in the CEO
mode.  

However, got to say again, it poses no danger to the status quo.
That's advertising spiel. Dreaming that it really does is its appeal. It will 
be vaunted, valorized, refuted, studied, copied, plagiarized, bootlegged, 
fakes sold on the black market, cause a few celebrated arrests and
suicides and pregnancies, an offing or two among competitors, made 
into movies and documentaries, tv specials, novels, poems, tatooes, 
babies names, sexual aids, race care emblems, the range of rot now 
part of the lore of Che, Elvis, Michael, King, the Dead Kennedys, god 
knows all else that has been branded to beyond death.


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