Skip to main content

The Bradley Manning Support Network is under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, as revealed by a copy of a Freedom of Information Act request response. In this case, the request for records pertaining to the activist umbrella group was denied, but the reason for the denial - that "an active investigation is in progress with an undetermined completion date" - is obviously news in and of itself, which is presumably why none of the infotainment outlets posing as news organizations have reported on the development thus far.

As of 1:30 PM CST, the FOIA scan indicating that a network of activists who advocate on behalf of a celebrated accused whistleblower are being pursued by a branch of the U.S. military has not been mentioned by a single news organization with a web presence. Searching Google News brings up nothing; searching Google itself brings up two blogs with what we may presume to be very little reach (building up an audience has less to do with quality than it does with packaging, which is why Thomas Friedman is so popular). Quite possibly there will be mentions of all this by tomorrow in at least a few more places - but having spent years working in the media, analyzing the media, and sometimes being covered by the media, it wouldn't surprise me if coverage were relegated to a handful of specialist sites and perhaps Wired (which itself does some of the best and most crucial reporting on such issues as the NSA Utah Data Center only to have its revelations ignored by general outlets in favor of Secret Service prostitution scandals).

Complaints of this sort are often brushed off by journalists with the more "respectable" outlets with the response that everyone has their pet issue that they believe deserves special attention. In this case, such an excuse wouldn't hold water, nor does today being Sunday serve to explain away the complete absence of coverage thus far. Back in early 2010, when the Wikileaks Twitter account put forth a series of messages to the effect that one of its volunteers had been stopped and questioned and that others were being aggressively pursued by agents of the State Department, there was zero coverage of the incident at all. And the claims of state interference weren't exactly dubious; just a few days prior, Wikileaks had released Pentagon documents that proved the U.S. military was already considering how best to disrupt the organization. Back then, Wikileaks just wasn't on the radar of the U.S. media on the whole. Only later in the year would editors collectively agree that Wikileaks was indeed maybe some sort of big deal - soon after which it collectively decided that it was easier and more fun to ask probing questions about whether or not Julian Assange thinks highly of himself than it was to look through the actual documents that were providing to the world. And of course it became not only clear, but abundantly and repeatedly clear, that a number of covert operations were in the works against Wikileaks and individuals close to it. At any rate, they would eventually agree that this strange new transparency group was shaping up to be a major story, but only long after it had become obvious. Its notability having been eventually established even by the American media reckoning, there's no viable excuse on "Sorry, We Don't Agree That's Notable" grounds for that incident to have been entirely ignored. It's just hard to look back at that day and make the case that it didn't represent a massive failure on the part of the media to see a story coming, even when plenty of other observers saw it quite clearly.

There's probably more at play here than simply groupthink. In both the Wikileaks/State Department incident and the incident I'm bitching about this time, the story was only apparent to the extent that one kept an eye on certain Twitter feeds, particular reddit sections, and other relatively newfangled venues of the sort that didn't exist ten years ago and which still have attached to them certain vaguely disreputable, quasi-comical connotations in the minds of countless producers and editors. Meanwhile, more and more stories of the sort that clearly merit coverage can be expected to emanate from these allegedly unconventional nooks and crannies, the info itself having been placed on Scribd or pastebin or some other such thing instead of delivered in a press release or spoken at a podium by some well-paid liar. At some point, those whose profession calls upon them to be aware of what's happening are going to have to learn to contend with how much of those happenings are now happening on online thingamajigs with silly names.

To be fair, some professionals of that sort have indeed learned how much data can be gleaned from well-executed examinations of social networking platforms. Unfortunately, most of them work in the surveillance and intelligence sectors of government agencies or private contractorstors, rather than newsrooms, and are engaged in keeping tabs on such parties as the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site