Feb 11

Wikileaks and Assange: two books

I’ve reviewed the first two books of what will be a literary cascade on Wikileaks in today’s Times (£): the account of Julian Assange’s collaboration with The Guardian by David Leigh and Luke Harding and the inside account from Daniel Domscheit-Berg of his time as Assange’s lieutenant.

The former is largely devoted to the clinching and subsequent collapse of the cooperation between Assange and The Guardian. Domscheit-Berg’s book, driven mostly by pique, is a lengthy complaint about Assange’s dictatorial methods. Both books include useful background on the early origins of Wikileaks. Both books underline that Wikileaks is Julian Assange, no more and no less.

I have discovered that writing blogposts (or reviews) about Julian Assange puts you in the line of fire from his passionate devotees if not from Assange himself. I’ve already been called a “supercilious weasel” and there’s probably worse to come. So if you’re new to this blog you’ll find earlier posts by entering “Assange” in the search box to the right of this post, including my reflections on his two appearances at City University last year. The first of those, much the more intriguing of the two, was before the major leaks of 2010 began.

A few offcuts from the books that couldn’t be squeezed into the review: Continue reading →


Nov 10

No, not paywall: paygate

Stand by, some time in 2011, for another attempt to escape from the word “paywall”. As this blogpost about an address to staff by New York Times editor Bill Keller discloses, the preferred term will be “paygate”.

That is probably a shade better that paywall and is certainly snappier than the “metering system” that NYT executives have talked about so far. Or is it a little close to Watergate and every other “gate” that has followed?

I savour the image of the NYT as a rhinoceros, not to mention Keller’s feline bitchiness about the Wall Street Journal.