The News Corporation-owned Wall Street Journal blasted “self-appointed media paragons” who were quick to attack the British tabloid News of the World but not the release of classified information by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.
The tabloid, also owned by News Corp., closed down after an investigation revealed it had participated in the phone hacking of celebrities, British politicians, the families of terrorist attack victims, dead soldiers and others.
“The damage caused by WikiLeaks almost certainly exceeded what was done by News of the World, precisely because Mr. Assange and his media enablers were targeting bigger—if often more vulnerable—game,” Bret Stephens, a deputy editor for the Journal, wrote in an editorial published Tuesday.
The country’s leading financial newspaper accused WikiLeaks of endangering the safety of public figures by publishing a vast trove of leaked U.S. State Department diplomatic cables.
The editorial claimed the release of classified information by WikiLeaks and the phone hacking conducted by News of the World are “largely the same story,” noting that both incidents involved secret information being illegal obtained and published.
“So why is one a scandal, replete with arrests, resignations and parliamentary inquests, while the other is merely a controversy, with Mr. Assange’s name mooted in some quarters for a Nobel Peace Prize?” Stephen asks.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal insisted that the phone hacking scandal in Britain should not tarnish all of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire.
Rupert, his son James and former CEO of News International Rebekah Brooks testified before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday.
So far, 10 people have been arrested in connection to the phone hacking scandal, including Brooks.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.