So is the Times‘ apparent shift good news? In one sense, it certainly is. Reporting that uses plain language to describe government abuses is better than reporting that does not. But the fact remains that it took the paper a decade to come to this conclusion, and the Times appears to have done so only after they were reassured that the torturers will not face justice.
—NY Times and Torture: A Decade Too Late?
I recently subscribed to a bunch of new media accuracy blogs, and one of the best ones is Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (fair.org). For the most part, they’re nonpartisan and balanced — which is good not because balance is always right, but because partisan blogs tend to include ad hominem attacks and lean on clichés.
As I said to someone recently, I think I’m more of an open access/open government advocate than an anti-surveillance activist. As much as I think SecureDrop could be one of the most important tools of the decade, I think it’s important because the government knows too much about us without oversight or much information in return: congresspeople can anonymously prevent a motion from reaching the stage of a Senate vote, and CIA director John Brennan lied to the public and the Senate. I think governmental accountability is imperative in a democracy, and I think organizations like Sunlight Foundation (and, yes, Wikileaks) are using technology in hugely important ways to provide some measure of accountability.