Friday, 16 December 2016

Hacking: Truth or treason? Per BBC News

This BBC report by Ian Katz purports to examine whether reporting the hacking of information is about revealing the truth or not.

Of course being from a BBC journalist the answer depends upon what has been hacked. If it's information about sportsmen and drugs then that's fine but if it's about one of the BBC's chosen politicians being at best careless about the storage of information, or worse revealing corruption then that might be treason.

'How should we handle troves of confidential data effectively handed to us by foreign states? Do we risk becoming "useful idiots" when we run precisely the stories that a hostile government wants us to?'

How about revealing the truth about a politician who wants to be the most powerful elected politician in the free world?

'It's a question we wrestled with on Newsnight when we ran a series of stories about Bradley Wiggins, based on the medical records of athletes - material widely believed to have been hacked by the Russians in revenge for the banning of hundreds of Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics.

It felt uncomfortable, but the public interest in establishing whether a major sporting figure had broken the spirit of the rules - if not the letter - seemed clear cut.'

Public interest established...

'When it comes to tampering with elections the stakes are rather higher. One prominent victim of another state-sponsored hack told me he thought journalists who feasted on material served up by the Russians with the aim of influencing a US election were committing "something verging on treason".

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, which has run a string of stories based on the hacking of both Podesta's mail and, before that, material from Democratic National Committee figures, told me the thought that he might be doing Vladimir Putin's bidding sometimes kept him up at night.'

Isn't the story that Hillary Clinton kept security sensitive information on an unsecured server, that the media cooperated with the US Democrats over many matters and worse. Oddly Ian Katz manages not to mention the more serious of the allegations revealed by the 'hack'. It is almost as though the truth matters less to Ian Katz and the BBC than casting aspersions on Donald Trump's election victory. Can that really be the case?

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