There is a very simple reason WikiLeaks has sent a furious storm of outrage across the globe and it has very little to do with diplomatic impropriety. It is this: The public is uninformed because of inadequate journalism....Very few publishers or broadcasters post reporters to foreign datelines and give them time to develop relationships that lead to information. Consequently, journalism is atrophying from the extremities inward and the small heart it has will soon become even more endangered.
Actual journalistic coverage of the story (should be required viewing) is here.
Update: Another way to look at this:
While WikiLeaks made the trove available with the intention of exposing United States duplicity, what struck many readers was that American diplomacy looked rather impressive. The day-by-day record showed diplomats trying their hardest behind closed doors to defuse some of the world’s thorniest conflicts, but also assembling a Plan B.
“When dysfunctional does not begin to describe our political system and institutions,” Prof. Stephen Kotkin of Princeton concluded after sampling the cables last week, “something in the government is really working — the State Department — far better than anyone thought.” (via)
Update: Much more from Jeff Jarvis:
Of course, we need secrets in society. In issues of security and criminal investigation as well as the privacy of citizens and some matters of operating the state -- such as diplomacy -- sunlight can damage. If government limited secrecy to that standard -- necessity -- there would be nothing for WikiLeaks to leak.
But as we can see from what has been leaked, there is much we should know -- actions taken in our name -- that government holds from us. We also know that the revelation of these secrets has not been devastating. America's and Germany's relationship has not collapsed because one undiplomatic diplomat called Angela Merkel uncreative. WikiLeaks head Julian Assange told the Guardian that in four years, "there has been no credible allegation, even by organizations like the Pentagon, that even a single person has come to harm as a result of our activities."
So perhaps the lesson of WikiLeaks should be that the open air is less fearsome than we'd thought. That should lead to less secrecy. After all, the only sure defense against leaks is transparency.
But that is not what's happening. In the U.S., the White House announced a new security initiative to clamp down on information. The White House even warned government workers not to look at WikiLeaks documents online because they were still officially secret, which betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the definition of secret as something people do not know. I fear that one legacy of WikiLeaks' work will be that officials will communicate less in writing and more by phone, diminishing the written record for journalism and history.
[T]oday, in the internet age, power shifts from those who hold secrets to those who create openness. That is our emerging reality.
Business, be warned: You are next.