July 28, 2010 By Bob Englehart | July 27th, 2010
When is a leak a good thing? When it’s a news leak. Thank God for WikiLeaks and those that feed it. I don’t know why I pictured this leak as a bunch of Post-it notes, but there they are.
With the severe cutbacks in newspapers and other news organizations, we’re going to need all the reliable citizen journalists we can get. “The Pentagon Papers” was the news leak that focused my attention on news leaks. Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker, helped bring an end to the Vietnam War a little bit sooner than it might have.
There are people who hate these leaks, most of them in the ruling class and the military. The military leaders don’t want the truth about any war to leak out. They fear soldiers and others working with them might be killed. I don’t know if that’s ever happened, or not. It seems to me that the biggest danger of news leaks is that it makes the ruling class look like a bunch of buffoons and the military leaders look incompetent. Leaks are nothing new. My father, who was in the Office of Strategic Services, is still furious with the New York Times for leaking information about our efforts during World War II.
Now, on to the other leak, the one that’s not a metaphor. I think it was brilliant of BP’s big shots for putting an American in charge of the company. It goes a long way to defuse the situation in the Gulf of Mexico. I hope some news leaks will come out about that operation. Even though the flow of crude oil has stopped, the damage will linger for decades and the story’s not over. The cleanup will cost a fortune. It makes me wonder if there will be a British Petroleum still around in, say, ten years.
Bob Englehart is the staff cartoonist for the Hartford Courant, and has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, John Fischetti Contest, Planned Parenthood, and Free Press Association and was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1979.
What I need to add to this is that the information leak has indeed endangered informants with the U.S. military. But the leaks that I noticed no one is making a big deal about is the Chinese oil leak that has endangered international waters, and the Canadian oil leak that has dumped over 800,000 gallons into the Kalamazo River in Michican, here in the United States. Where is the coverage for these?