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With a big assist from the corporate media, the government has done a good job pushing its anti-Wikileaks propaganda, to the point where many progressives are parroting it. Time to set the record straight.

Lie 1. Wikileaks is "indiscriminately" posting material.  
Fact: It's published less than one percent of the State Department cables it possesses, 1203 out of 251,287. What's more, it makes an effort to redact info that could harm innocent people, an effort appears to be growing more comprehensive. And it's asked the U.S. government to help redact information from each collection of documents. The U.S. governmentrefuses to help.

Lie 2. People have been killed as a result of Wikileaks' actions.
Fact: There's no evidence that anyone's been killed. (If there were, we'd never stop hearing about it.) In fact, there's no evidence that anyone's received so much as a wedgie as a result of these releases.

Lie 3. The information released by Wikileaks is "nothing new."
Fact: The documents contain dozens of major scoops -- not just support for things we already knew but brand new, important stories that could be and should be front page news. For example, we've learned that the U.S. military had an explicit policy of ignoring torture by Iraqi troops and that Hillary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on U.N. officials, a blatant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention, and that the United States supported the coup in Honduras.

Lie 4. Wikileaks aren't journalists.
Fact: First, the charge -- made by people attempting to distinguish Wikileaks from "reputable" outlets -- is irrelevant. You don't need credentials to be a journalist, and you don't have to be considered "reputable" by "reputable" people to be entitled to First Amendment protections. Second, the notion that all Wikileaks does is post documents is simply false; it posts news stories and analysis based on the documents. In terms of function, there's no meaningful difference between Wikileaks and conventional news outlets.

Lie 5. Julian Assange is threatening to release info to protect himself from a rape prosecution.
Fact: the "poison pill" he's threatening to release has nothing to do with the rape charge. He's using it to protect himself from the U.S. government and other governments, which could arrest him, or worse, in retaliation for releasing the documents. This isn't a far-fetched possibility, what with American politicians calling for his arrest and with the frontunner for the GOP nomination (and possible future president) saying he should be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

Originally posted to david mizner on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 02:53 PM PST.

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