WikiLeaks has not ignored the opportunity to crack down on corruption this election season. As of late, the organization, which identifies itself as “a multi-national media organization” that “specializes in the analysis… of large datasets of censored materials involving war, spying and corruption” has targeted Hillary Clinton by releasing emails and other documents that challenge her transparency.
These leaks purportedly incentivize accountability by sharing privately-exchanged ideas that are often hidden from voters. However, they also prove counter-productive to the organization’s supposed large-scale visions of freedom and accountable governments. To uphold its journalistic integrity and help ensure future freedom of information, WikiLeaks should reevaluate its attacks against Hillary.
WikiLeaks plays an invaluable role in upholding ideals of transparency within the political sphere. Voters deserve to know what goes on behind closed doors, and Hillary is not exempt from this standard. From the Benghazi scandal to undisclosed donors, the public has a right to know what skeletons hide in her closet.
However, as political communications professor Tom Johnson speculates, “the timing [of WikiLeaks’ releases] is not coincidental.” Johnson noted that the release of emails that proved the Democratic National Committee’s anti-Sanders sentiments just before the party’s convention began were strategic.
“The purpose of [those] WikiLeaks was designed to create chaos,” Johnson said. “They knew that these revelations would reverberate at the convention.”
WikiLeaks engineers these releases to shift discussion in the directions it desires, typically in a direction that does not favor the Clinton camp.
These attacks are intentionally malicious. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, actively wants to “destroy” Hillary. Furthermore, the possibility that these emails were obtained via Russian hackers suggests that WikiLeaks is straying from its objective journalism to benefit certain players in the political arena. By facilitating the Kremlin’s interference in the United States election, WikiLeaks undermines our nation’s democracy and counters its own goals.
Political bias in the media is not a new issue, nor is it an issue we will entirely overcome any time soon. Regardless, journalists must strive to minimize prejudice in reporting if we want to better educate the public. Putting personal biases aside is crucial in transferring information to voters so that they may make their own judgments of information on their own.
In comparison to Clinton, a quick glance over Trump’s debate history reveals that he would likely be worse for journalists and free communication on the web. He supports censoring parts of the Internet and opposes logical measures to maintain IP addresses, whereas Clinton actively defended activists against government snooping online. She may not see eye-to-eye with Julian Assange on all issues, but on the whole, Clinton is the correct choice for activists looking to protect constitutional freedoms on the Internet.
WikiLeaks should certainly continue to investigate issues surrounding the transparency of both candidates and carry on in its quest for a more open, free internet. These goals all include looking into what secrets Clinton may be hiding and exposing where she fails to communicate with voters. But which candidate, in the end, will support their causes? This issue is not a matter of partisan politics, but of which candidate forwards the organization’s principles. It would better help WikiLeaks to release leaks from across party lines as they are obtained and not intentionally rile up anti-Clinton sentiments.
Larcher is a economics and Plan II freshman from Austin. Follow her on Twitter @veg_lomein.