Richard Cohen is an old asshole, a representative of old media and the reason my blood pressure spiked this morning. His words are in bold. Mine are pissed off.

Richard Cohen headshotWikiLeaks and the trouble with transparency
By Richard Cohen | WashingtonPost.com | Monday, December 6, 2010; 8:00 PM

Okay, we're only at the title here but I'm already mad. An alleged journalist has trouble with transparency? An alleged journalist wants truth hidden? I can't… read… on.

Oh, but I must.

The first WikiLeaks moment occurred on Jan. 17, 1998. It was then that Matt Drudge reported that Bill Clinton had had an affair with a White House intern. The story, though, was not Drudge's. It was Michael Isikoff's. His employer, Newsweek, had delayed publication. Drudge went with it – which is to say that he reported that Newsweek had the story. It took another four days for the so-called mainstream media to catch up – a story in The Post confirmed it all. How late! How pitiful!

Time to play: "The Fuck Are You Talking About Old Man?"

Is it pitiful that:

  1. The Post was late with a story Drudge leaked?
  2. Newsweek didn't get a scoop?
  3. Michael Isikoff now works at a gas station?
  4. Media doesn't control everyone?

There's really no wrong answer. Richard Cohen is senile. You can pretty much go with anything and it works.

Now we have the New York Times publishing major parts of the recent cache of documents that it received not from WikiLeaks and its thoroughly contemptible founder, Julian Assange,

Thoroughly contemptible? Not partially? Not somewhat? Thoroughly. And I think we all know why. Julian Assange rapes horses. It's true; I read it in Horse Fucker's Monthly.

but from the Guardian, a British newspaper. Assange, it appears, was chagrined by a hard-hitting Times profile of himself. But he also might have resented the Times' meddling with the earlier release of about 90,000 military documents. We won't know until WikiLeaks' internal cables are leaked.

So you admit that you don't know what the fuck you are talking about? Sorry, I meant: about which you are talking?

WikiLeaks website screenshotWhat the Clinton scandal and the WikiLeaks disclosures have in common is a sad collapse of the mainstream media's gatekeeper role.

Okay, this is where I lost my shit. This is where I spit coffee through my nose and about crapped egg rolls. This dude works for The Washington Post, the dudes who exposed Watergate, and he thinks that newspapers' role in mainstream media is to be gatekeepers to information. I mean, we all know that's what media does but they never actually admit it. The balls on Dick Cohen. The balls must be professional billiard size.

Newsweek presumably had good reasons to postpone publication of Isikoff's story – reasons that Drudge did not share. The Times had good cause to parse the WikiLeaks cache – lives could be in danger – but Assange launched them into cyberspace anyway, not caring if American interests were damaged. In fact, that might have been the whole point.

Newsweek maybe had good reasons to postpone a story. Maybe; I don't know. It's not like I'm a professional journalist who could have looked into this…. Wait, what?

The natural reaction is to want to pop Assange in some way, possibly by indicting him for violating the totally impractical Espionage Act of 1917 or, in the superheated imaginations of some, by declaring him a terrorist and targeting him for something irrevocable.

Really? The natural reaction is to hunt him down like a dog and lock him away for life for the crime of sharing information with the free world? That's the natural reaction? Seems a little harsh, naturally and all that.

The trouble with any of this is that you inevitably get entangled with the Times and other newspapers such as The Post, which also has devoted considerable space and talent to the stories. They all enabled Assange to reach a wider audience – raise your hand if you actually visited his Web site – and moreover gave him what amounts to a journalistic Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval: See, this stuff is important.

The trouble with free speech is that important stuff gets disseminated all over the world for anyone to read. We can't have that because this stuff is important?

I cannot stress this enough: Richard Cohen is a journalist!

The challenge is to keep the cure from doing less damage than the disease. Sure, some world leaders have been discomforted by what has been reported – Saudi King Abdullah should use Yiddish when he wants to speak candidly – but so far as we know no bodies have hit the floor with a sickening plop.

And the big deal is?

In fact, it could be argued that the leaks in any Bob Woodward book are of greater consequence and importance than those served up by WikiLeaks. And when it comes to sheer nihilistic journalism, I refer you to the Rolling Stone story that cost Gen. Stanley McChrystal his command and his career. The article contained nothing of real value concerning policy or a disagreement with President Obama. Yet McChrystal, who survived many a brush with the enemy, was brought down by a clear shot in the back.

Here are two examples of free speech having a greater effect on society than WikiLeaks has so far: Bob Woodward and one Rolling Stone article. Cohen, I think midway through this column, has realized that he is an old fogey.

Governments, like married couples, are entitled to their secrets – from us, from the kids and from the neighbors.

You have no right to know what your country is doing unless the gatekeeper has spoon fed it to you, Sheeple. You cannot think for yourselves or form opinions. That's why I, Richard Cohen, exist: to tell you what to think and how to feel about it.

Total transparency produces total opaqueness. If everything's open, no one says anything. If you want to know why there is no document detailing exactly when George W. Bush decided to go to war in Iraq, it's because of something Dick Cheney once said: "I learned early on that if you don't want your memos to get you in trouble someday, just don't write any." On Iraq, he and Bush followed that rule.

And that is the way that all government should be run: no memos, nothing written down, no transparency… ah the good old days of GW Bush and his total disregard for informing his people. If only it could have lasted forever….

One of the juvenile joys of being a journalist used to be knowing what others didn't – the vaunted story behind the story. "You newspapermen know everything," Claudette Colbert tells Fred MacMurray in "The Gilded Lily." No more. Now, everything sees the light of day and media organizations like Gawker, journalism's own little cesspool, pay for such scoops as pictures allegedly sent by Brett Favre to a young lady of his passing acquaintance. This is not what Jefferson had in mind when he championed freedom of the press.

Okay, where to start? First off: fuck you Richard Cohen. Fuck you for being yet another old fogey who despises and fears the medium that is destroying your pathetically corrupt and self-important position in life. Second off: are you really bitching that you lost a juvenile joy (that of knowing everything and choosing what to convey)? And that I should feel sorry that I can get information from the source instead of dealing with Richard fucking Cohen? Because if that's the case, fuck you again. Third, the hell does Gawker.com or Brett Favre's cock have to do with WikiLeaks, journalism, or the price of whiskey in Ireland? And fourth: fuck you and any asshole who can honestly say that Tom Jefferson would have rather had censorship than WikiLeaks. You're a goddamn corporate shill, Cohen, and an insult to freedom lovers and journalists everywhere. Eat a bag of shit.

The WikiLeaks brouhaha will pass. Diplomats will once again be indiscreet at cocktail parties and rat out one another in the same way some people marry repeatedly, each time forever. The only thing worse than indiscretion…

Off the top of my head, here are ten things worse than indiscretion: rape, murder, traffic, moldy cheese, theft, fraud, heroin addiction, poverty, and war.

is efforts to punish the miscreants by eroding the core constitutional right to publish all but the most obvious and blatant national security secrets.

The only thing worse than indiscretion is punishing the indiscreet? So, what did you want done about this again? Please re-state your problem and your solution because I think you are developing Alzheimer's and have lost your way, mentally speaking.

Richard Cohen with a black eyeThe government has to get better at keeping secrets. Muzzle the leakers – but not the press.

It is time to point out that the leakers are not Julian Assange or even WikiLeaks. The leakers are often American citizens/soldiers who actually did commit a crime. Like it or not, Richard "Dick" Cohen, but WikiLeaks is a part of the press nowadays. They did their research; they found their stories; they published them and they didn't get paid all that much.

You, on the other hand, just dumped out a thousand words about how much you miss the old days—if this column were an old man, the pants would be up to his ears—failed to make a point regarding… well anything and just generally pissed me off.

I hope you get genital warts you old asshole.

Oh, and welcome to the 21st century.

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