On the one hand, Adler does a fine job of highlighting those groups and media outlets (like the Washington Post) who have stepped up to defend the right to publish—and those who have pussyfooted around the issue. But on the other, Adler misdiagnoses the reasons behind this phenomenon. He cites three main reasons why U.S. journalists aren't speaking out more:
(1) Refusal to engage in advocacy—even when it comes to the key freedom they enjoy and rely upon;
(2) Opposition to Assange’s purpose—construed as "toppling governments," rather than transparency and accountability;
(3) Opposition to Assange’s methods—though such methods are routinely misreported.
These three "reasons" may pertain to some in the media, but they omit two far more obvious and compelling reasons why U.S. reporters, editors and publishers are not stepping up for the 1st Amendment as it applies to Wikileaks.
(4) Professional Jealousy and Resentment:
Wikileaks is eating the traditional, mainstream media's lunch. Almost every day, there's a new scoop thanks to Wikileaks which ought to merit front-page coverage (and occasionally does). Tacitly, this exposes the lack of initiative and curiosity among many elements of the oldschool press. And it engenders a certain amount of resentment in those reporters who know, consciously or not, they ought to be digging deeper and coming up with scoops of their own. But too many reporters sit placidly behind their desks, waiting for sources to call, and relying on press releases. In short, Wikileaks makes them look bad.
(5) Careerism and Status:
Some journalists value their long-term career prospects, perks and status more than their mission as a check-and-balance on official power. They worry that stepping out on Wikileaks' behalf will hurt their hopes of advancement by alienating more conservative, power-friendly bosses (and potential bosses). And if they want to transition to a more lucrative career in public relations or consulting, their support of such causes may, they imagine, also be held against them. Moreover, many of these status-conscious media figures overvalue their cozy relationships with government and business sources. They are easily flattered when a big exec or top official deigns to toss them some scraps. They dutifully write stories based on promises of confidentiality, allowing powerful interests to spin stories without consequence. Thus defending Wikileaks would again potentially endanger those "valued" relationships.
In skipping over these rather self-evident motivations for denying support to Wikileaks, the writer effectively confirms the thesis. Pointing out the jealously, resentment, careerism, and status-seeking of his peers probably would not be a great career move for Adler, and would make him persona non grata with many official and corporate sources.
[NOTE: I've worked in the national mainstream media myself, and both my parents wrote and edited for a living. I mention it only to emphasize that the above critique is not that of an outsider unfamiliar with newsrooms.]