Moe Tkacik gets mentioned a second time today, for some enterprising “amateur statistics” which offer a pretty clear picture as to why the Washington Post wasn’t offered the Wikileaks documents:
…before the latest document dump it appeared that a grand total of three stories, comprising 4108 words of the 35,662 words of 2010 Post stories about which Wikileaks was the primary focus, actually required anything approaching a close read of any of the Wikileaked documents…
…Here’s how the rest of the Post‘s pre-November coverage of Wikileaks breaks down:
- 20.5% or 7,323 words on… miscellaneous thumbsucker type stories on the political and policy consequences, at home and abroad, of the leaks which can probably be summarized in the words of one July 27 headline, “After war leak, anger but no calls for change.”
- 16% or 5,702 words on… Wikileaker Pvt. Bradley Manning, e.g. how he was being “celebrated as a folk hero” by some despite the fact that his “mental health” had been “doubted” and one profile that began with the lede “Bradley Manning, 22, had just gone through a breakup.”
- 15.8% or 5649 words on what might generally be called sundry leakology e.g. neutral and relatively banal discussion of the basic mechanics and history of leaks, liberal on the references to/quotes from/historical comparisons with Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg
- 14.2% or 5,064 words… “reporting” on and/or voicing the Pentagon’s strong condemnation of the Wikileaks for jeopardizing national security and countless lives by disclosing such a vast trove of damning top-secret, highly sensitive and “explosive” etc. etc. information.
- 12.9% or 4,607 words on… host of op-ed commentary pieces employing a host of different ways of saying there’s nothing in the Wikileaks that everyone in Washington did not know already and no it did not actually require “reading” the leaks themselves to arrive at this conclusion. Richard Cohen, Michael Gerson and Gene Robinson all produced relatively identical variations on the unbylined editorial “Wikileaks ‘Truth': Secret History of the Iraq War Turns Out To Be Pretty Familiar” although Anne Applebaum probably deserves some credit for pointing that the reason they all felt this way was mainly that no one really had enough of an attention span to read them, duh. And…
- 9% or 3,209 words on… Wikileaks internal “affairs” e.g. Julian Assange‘s rape charge, Hussein comparisons, etc.