Wikileaks as De-Branding

kris, December 1st, 2010

(written on 31.10., updated significantely on 1.12.2010)

Wikileaks reveals facts behind global politics and the motivations of its actors. Both is often hidden behind the rhetorics of political communication (in form of official declarations, PR and all other forms of strategic communication). So wikileaks makes it possible to confront strategic communication with the reality of unvarnished communication and with facts – and shows the discrepancies. De-Branding on a very large scale.

The tactical reactions of the damaged political actors take place on all levels:

  1. belittle the relevance of the information “we knew all that anyway”
  2. banalize the information by emphasizing the personal stories and the gossip (what politician X said about politician Y, etc.), by doing so distract from the real relevant political issues
  3. depict the enormous threat for the security of soldiers, diplomats, their familiy, the USA, the whole world, etc.
  4. criminalize wikileaks and their sources, do legal actions
  5. demonize wikileaks, damage their image, make them apear as “bad guys”, discredit them and their sources, etc.
  6. undercover action: hack wikileaks, spy them, disturb their communication network, infiltrate wikileaks, etc.

Its also quite interesting how different newspaper in different countries write about the leaks. Some examples of today, 31.10.2010:

The print version of the Italian Corriere della Sera occupies almost half of its pages to leak-related stories (typically italian much of it is gossip-oriented). While in the cool Swiss NZZ apear just a few columns with observations on the media echo of the leaks. Obviously Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and The New York Times dedicate huge sections of their web site to the topic  (they exclusevely got the material first in oder to proof it, etc… and obviously pro prepare the publicity).

The whole media presence is overwhelming and not digestible by me, but it seems to be worth studying. Is the some structured study of this case going on? Who is doing it? Apart from the reactions to the leaks and the above mentioned communication warfare, it would be interesting to get an better understanding of the leak itself. Is the data set complete? If not, what kind of selection is it? What was the process of selection? What are the motivations for this selection? Are there hidden interests? Or hidden players? etc.

Here i want to post two videos from “democracy now“, which point out the relevance of transparency and so justify the leaks.