Email with Todd Gitlin, cc:d Franklin Foer
----- Forwarded Message -----
To: Todd Gitlin
Cc: Franklin Foer
Sent: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 10:51:58 AM (GMT-0300) Auto-Detected
Subject: Correction needed
Todd - A key premise of your TNR article about WikiLeaks is factually false. Contrary to your claim -- which has been widely repeated in numerous media venues -- WikiLeaks did not "indiscriminately" dump diplomatic cables.
To date, they have posted to their website only 960 of the roughly 250,000 cables they possess. Virtually every single one of those was first published by one of their partner newspapers: the NYT, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, El Pais, etc. And when WikiLeaks posted those cables to its site, they posted them with the redactions applied by those newspapers.
In other words, the reality is the exact opposite of what you stated in your article ("Wikileaks’s huge data dump, including the names of agents and recent diplomatic cables, is indiscriminate"). That claim is factually false. Here's an AP article detailing how WikiLeaks has followed the lead of media outlets in deciding which cables to publish.
It's obviously fine if you want to condemn WikiLeaks (though your last line is bizarre, given that Ellsberg himself has said Assange is one of his heroes and is doing exactly what Ellsberg did).
But it's not fine to repeat the widespread -- and unquestionably false -- claim that WikiLeaks has indiscriminately dumped diplomatic cables. The media has endlessly repeated the myth that they published 250,000 cables, and you probably got that from them, but it requires a correction.
TG to GG
I'm thinking about your points, and will reply more discriminately, as it were, but in the meantime, while we're clearing up falsehoods, I went over to Salon and saw the word "lies" in the headline. You're entitled to say "falsehoods" if, in fact, what I said was false. (I don't agree I wrote falsely, in fact, but will post on that later.) But "lies"? You really think I knowingly wrote something contrary to what I believed? This is false and outrageous. You should take down the headline.
GG to TG
The headline describes "lies **and** propaganda" - it then enumerates multiple items. I didn't say you lied - I said you published "an absolute factual falsehood" and that you and TNR editors were guilty of "failing to undertake the most minimal due diligence (such as, say, checking WikiLeaks' website) before publishing this claim."
I don't know what you was in your mind when you wrote that. I didn't purport to know. And I don't think it matters. What matters is that it needs to be corrected.
This claim has been repeated everywhere, often by people who I do believe were lying. Whether you published it that way or as unintentional false propaganda is something I don't know and didn't claim to know. I think considerable light will be shed on the question by whether there is a real correction promptly forthcoming.