Politicians attempt to cover up leaked Honduran documents

In 2009, Wikileaks published thousands of documents from the State Department. Some of those documents revealed the truth about the military coup in Honduras. They showed that the new government illegally assumed power after arresting the then current president. In addition, the new government has been mistreating the people of Honduras. However, these acts of repression on the people (journalists and activists especially) are not being investigated or stopped by the new Honduran government.

The vital content in the leaked Honduran papers outlined above is hardly being discussed in the US. US politicians are up in arms over the actual publishing of the documents in what seems to be an attempt to cover up the severity of the information within the documents. It seems like the Obama administration and the US government are trying to hide the fact that they are sanctioning military coups in Latin America. And by making a fuss about the unauthorized publishing of the documents, the Obama Administration is almost able to hide the fact that the US government is harboring illegal activity in Honduras by supporting the reinstatement of Honduras into the OAS.

Publishing these papers showed American citizens that the government is not always as it seems. Although the Obama Administration promised to modify the conservative-leaning policies of the former administration, after the release of the papers, it was evident that they were directly contradicting those statements by allowing the attack on left-leaning governments in Latin America to persist.

It can be concluded that when unpublished documents showing government deceit land in the hands of publishers, the documents should be exposed to the public so that independent media can tell the true story. Even though the politicians may try to hide the facts from the public (like with the case of Honduras), it is the role of independent media to pull the veil and state the truth.

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell


Bloggers call out CBS for bogus documents

In 2004, blogger Scott Johnson posted about potential fake documents used in a CBS ’60 Minutes’ report. Within an hour of posting, Johnson’s blog skyrocketed in popularity, sending CBS into a tailspin. (To read this story in full, check out The Washington Post story for more details.)

The first 16 paragraphs of this story really highlight how bloggers and the ‘blogosphere’ contribute to the national media environment. According to the story, Johnson’s blog post set fire to mainstream media because Johnson was able to find mainstream media inconsistencies and quickly comment on them.

Charles Johnson, one of the first people to respond to Scott Johnson’s post, said that the blogosphere has “a huge pool of highly motivated people who go out there and use the tools to find stuff. We’ve got an army of citizen journalists out there.”

The pressure put on CBS by Scott Johnson and other bloggers forced CBS to fact check their report and the documents used in it proving the value of blogging. Corporate media institutions often ignore or downplay problems and bloggers are filling those holes with thoughtful and well-researched responses.

Bloggers may have an advantage over mainstream media as well. They can have large internet followings, speedy response rates and highly motivated writers. This story shows that bloggers may be the ‘Fifth Estate’. Those who check the ones who are checking the government. Media corporations, like the government, need transparency. And this breakthrough blogger moment in 2004 proves that bloggers may be the people who are filling in the gaps and checking the accuracy in mainstream media reporting.