In February 2013, United States military intelligence analyst Bradley Manning confessed in court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, saying he wanted the information to become public “to make the world a better place” and that he hoped to “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military in (US) foreign policy.” The 700,000 released documents revealed a multitude of previously secret crimes and acts of deceit and corruption by US military and government officials.
According to Manning’s testimony in February 2013, he tried to release the Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs through conventional sources. In winter 2010, he contacted the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politico in hopes that they would publish the materials. Only after being rebuffed by these three outlets did Manning begin uploading documents to WikiLeaks. Al Jazeera reported that Manning’s testimony “raises the question of whether the mainstream press was prepared to host the debate on US interventions and foreign policy that Manning had in mind.”
Indeed, US corporate media have largely shunned Manning’s case, not to mention the importance of the information he released. When corporate media have focused on Manning, this coverage has often emphasized his sexual orientation and past life, rather than his First Amendment rights or the abusive nature of his imprisonment, which includes almost three years without trial and nearly one year in “administrative segregation,” the military equivalent of solitary.
In his February 2013 court appearance, Manning pled guilty to twelve of the twenty-two charges against him, including the capital offense of “aiding and abetting the enemy.” He faces the possibility of a life sentence without parole. His severe treatment is a warning to other possible whistleblowers.
Bradley Manning and the Failure of Corporate Media
Kevin Gosztola, “The US Press Failed Bradley Manning,” FireDogLake, February 28, 2013, http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/02/28/the-us-press-failed-bradley-manning/.
Glenn Greenwald, “Bradley Manning: The Face of Heroism,” Guardian, February 28, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/28/bradley-manning-heroism-pleads-guilty.
Janet Reitman, “Did the Mainstream Media Fail Bradley Manning?,” Rolling Stone, March 1, 2013, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/did-the-mainstream-media-fail-bradley-manning-20130301.
“The Case of the US vs. Bradley Manning,” Al Jazeera English, March 9, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2013/03/201339107329512.html
Student Researcher: Amanda Renteria (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)