Watching the Wikileaks drip, I, like many American journalists, have undergone a series of reactions, complicated and contradictory, to the ongoing drama. I’ve taken my time to draw any conclusion or stand on opinion. By now, however, I’ve seen and learned enough to decide–and this is not a tentative stance–that Wikileaks is not a positive development in the expanding media universe. Since this point of view has already been amply and well defended by writers much better known than I, at first I thought not to enter the conversation. What could I add that had not already been said?
Then yesterday I realized that I have a rare, if certainly not unique, contribution for the debate. I have experienced a small part of what Julian Assange, Wikileaks agent provocateur, is now suffering personally, at the receiving end of “shoot the messenger,” a dynamic definitely in play here. Like Assange, I know what it feels like to be whipped about at the center of a firestorm ignited by our work because it promulgates truths that many people find threatening. I know what it’s like to be excoriated in the media, betrayed by colleagues, to get death threats, not only for ourselves but for our children. This is an experience from which, I’ve discovered, one does not emerge unscathed. As the people who know me well can testify, I am not the same person I was in April, 2008 before I digitally recorded and wrote about Barack Obama describing small-town Pennsylvanians as people who cling to guns and religion as a way of dealing with adversity. No, I am not the woman I was, and the change has not been for the better. (more…)
Maybe I’m the only polipundit who puts down the first week in December 2010 as a good one for President Obama. Frank Rich in Sunday’s NYT called the Obama presidency “baffling” and this past week in particular his “most humiliating attempt to placate his Republican captors in Washington.” Not to be outdone, Bill Maher complained on “Fareed Zakaria GPS” that Obama is “wimpy and wussy.” These two opinionators are not even the most aggrieved of liberals, who from the beginning of Obama’s appearance on the national stage have presumed too much and therefore misunderstood what he is about.
And these are the folks who voted for him. Really there’s no point in enumerating conservative estimations, although I find the Tea Party disrespect wearing thin. (more…)