John Young on Fri, 25 Feb 2011 17:05:03 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> John Naughton (The Observer/ Guardian ): WikiLeaks books roundup ? reviews: Domscheit-Be rg and Leigh & Harding

Wikileaks vs the world: you couldn?t make it up!

Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange?s War on Secrecy presents itself as a 
serious book penned by real Guardian journalists... but it is surely the 
greatest spoof ever written about the self-obsessed media.

by Brendan O?Neill 	

This book is the finest spoof you will ever read. It is a laugh-out-loud 
parody of the self-importance of Wikileaks and the journalists who 
have been sucked into its orbit. Wittily and brilliantly, however, it is 
presented as if it was actually authored by two Guardian journalists! 
?By David Leigh and Luke Harding? it says on the front cover, in 
order to give it a feel of being real, of being a true account of the 
Wikileaks phenomenon. But of course, as any reader with any 
nous will know, it?s just not possible for fully grown men to behave 
in the fashion documented in this tome, for hacks to refer to 
themselves as Jason Bourne-style pursuers of truth and to 
compare Julian Assange to Mother Teresa. No, this is stinging 
satire, and all the better for being so spookily accurate.

[Lots more aptly amusing ridicule elided] ...

This was really a jumped-up version of press-release journalism, 
where hacks received and devoured info rather than going out 
and finding it. Best of all, ?Leigh? and ?Harding? report that Nick 
Davies, one of the ?best-known investigative journalists?, has 
denounced much of modern journalism as ?churnalism?? and 
then they have him and others literally churning through discs 
in search of sexy stories! It?s brutally funny. Churnalism is 
when journalists are ?reduced to passive processors of 
whatever material comes their way?, says Davies. Er, 
hello??? Side-splitting.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a weird political story is 
by parodying its protagonists. These two authors have done a 
brilliant job of that. Wikileaks is really a story of an incoherent 
American elite effectively farting its own secrets into the public 
arena, where they were then lapped up by hackers who are the 
close cousins of David Icke in their conspiratorial outlook and 
by hacks who no longer know how to find ?the truth? and so 
they wait for it to land in their laps, scribbled on a napkin, like 
a modern-day version of the all-knowing Dead Sea Scrolls. 
By dressing up this rather sad and sordid shebang as a 
James Bond-esque escapade involving brave spectral 
whizzkids and fearless journalists with macchiatos in one 
hand and cop-outsmarting mobile phones in the other, 
?Leigh? and ?Harding? brilliantly ridicule the life out of the 
Wikileaks myth and nonsense. Buy this book if you like 
a laugh. 9/10.

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