Kyle Smith at National Review offers his view of the former U.S. Army private and convicted spy formerly known as Bradley Manning (seen above in his U.S. Army photo) being called a “whistleblower" by the media.
Let’s say you published something controversial on the Internet and you started getting death threats. How would you like being “doxed”? In other words, what would your reaction be if someone who didn’t like you tweeted out to the world your home address? And your phone number? And your photo? And photos of your children? And the address of their school? And information about when you left the house each day, the license-plate number of your car, and the location where it was parked?
Would you call someone who published this information a “whistleblower”? Let’s say the same person simultaneously published accurate information about wrongdoing by your neighbors or colleagues. Would that make you feel any better?
Picture such an information dump on a massive scale. That’s roughly what then-Bradley Manning did when he threw hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents into the public square. Manning made no effort to filter out information that didn’t show evidence of wrongdoing. He indiscriminately stole as many classified documents as he dared and sent them off for publication on the Internet.
Chelsea Manning is not a whistleblower. Shame on you, NBC News, for saying that he is. Shame on you, Time. You, too, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Sky News, Canada’s public broadcaster CBC News, and many other outlets.
You would expect extremists at InfoWars and The Intercept to label Chelsea Manning a whistleblower, and that is what they have done. But mainstream-media outlets have blithely taken to using the preferred terms of radicals when describing Manning’s actions.
Even if we assume that Manning (who legally changed his name from Bradley to Chelsea in 2014) successfully exposed some wrongdoing, it must be conceded that what he did was reckless. He endangered the lives of countless American and allied military personnel, diplomats, and others associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only way his act constitutes mass exposure of wrongdoing, and nothing more, is if you think everybody in the U.S. military and everyone who worked with it is automatically a moral criminal. Exposing personal information about people fighting a war isn’t close to seeking justice for malefactors. It’s more like vigilantism.
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