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WikiLeaks Show Power of an Exclusive

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Wikileaks, an organization quickly building a reputation for leaking classified government and other documents, struck again yesterday, when it released a massive amount of classified U.S. military documents in relation to the Afghanistan war.

The documents were leaked to The New York Times, The Guardian (London) and German weekly Der Spiegel.

See their stories here, here and here.

Besides the obvious political ramifications the leaked documents present, their release show Wikileaks’ PR savvy.

New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen asks, “Why didn’t Wikileaks just publish the Afghanistan war logs [on the web] and let journalists ’round the world have at them? Why hand them over to The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel first?”‘

As the organization’s founder explained, there is still lots of power in the exclusive. He said in an interview last fall:

You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on but that’s absolutely not true. It’s about supply and demand. Zero supply equals high demand, it has value. As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.

The White House issued a statement from National Security Advisor General James Jones yesterday, which said in part, “The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.”

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