WikiLeaks Is Not Happy with Its Frontline Treatment

PBS-Frontline airs a provocative documentary on the secret-spilling group

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On Tuesday night, PBS-Frontline aired a sweeping documentary on WikiLeaks exploring the role of Bradley Manning in the organization and the controversy surrounding the group's mission. Already, the documentary has divided reviewers, with those sympathetic to WikiLeaks labeling the film a hatchet job and others celebrating it for its depth. WikiLeaks itself has said the program is "hostile and misrepresents WikiLeaks' views" and attempts to build an "espionage" case against founder Julian Assange. Here's a clip of the film followed by reviews.

It's Anti-WikiLeaks  The secret-spilling group WikiLeaks came out hard against the documentary on its website, saying it's more interested in taking down the group than explaining the positive impact it's had in the world, saying it includes interviews with people "who have a collective, and very dirty personal vendetta, against the organization." WikiLeaks also publishes a behind the scenes interview with Frontline's Martin Smith who Assange scolds for misrepresenting Bradley Manning. See the video here.

It's Fair But WikiLeaks Is Understandably Upset  The A.V. Club's Rowan Kaiser says WikiLeaks overstates its case in attacking the documentary saying Frontline's "tone of sober neutrality... defends itself against the most extreme aspects of WikiLeaks' rebuttal." However he does think the documentary has an overall anti-Wikileaks bias. "By choosing not to have any opinion, and presenting only the facts it can manage, Frontline ends up spending more time on the mechanics of the WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning story, and less time on causes and effects. For example, I linked to an analysis of Assange's strategy regarding 'conspiracy' above, but very little time is spent on why WikiLeaks does what it does."

It's a "Yawner" The Nation's Greg Mitchell, a WikiLeaks supporter, assails it as having little to add to the discussion. "From beginning to end, [it] was nothing but re-hash, much of it from news reports going back to last June or a little later," he writes. "We also heard from plenty of Assange critics making their usual and much-published charges.  We absorbed multiple appearances by David Leigh, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Nick Davies, Bill Keller.  Paging Glenn Greenwald!  We did get a few seconds of Dan Ellsberg—at a rally." Mitchell had expected that the documentary had new evidence linking Manning more directly to Assange. "Any fears about that proved needless," he writes. "All you had was Eric Schmitt of The New York Times saying that he believes, with no evidence, that maybe there was an intermediary between Manning and Assange, but then again, he adds, Assange was “too savvy” to risk anything more than that (if that)."

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