TED Conversations

Daniel Sheehan


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Where do we stand on on WikiLeaks?

To what extent should we support or oppose WikiLeaks?
Are there limits to what should be exposed to the public by investigators? And who should decide these limits?
When corruption is exposed through leaks how far up or down the ladder should we assign responsibility?
How should bias in reporting leaks be balanced?
If these leaks are produced for corrupt purposes how do we deal with it?
How can we present and prosecute exposed corruption in the public theater without it turning into a witch-hunt?


Closing Statement from Daniel Sheehan

A great deal of this conversation has been on whether our governments have a right to keep secrets from us. Many have pointed out corruptions that the secrets have protected, others site our loss of privacy at the hands of our governments.
Also many insist that transparency is protection from the abuses of authority by the people that we place our most sensitive information with, but few agree that "total transparency" can be achieved or as an over all goal is appropriate.
But it is clear that we believe that whistle blowers should be protected from retaliation.

I believe that we have an increasing problem with the "Free Press" which has become more of a commercialized or biased press that is more concerned with profits or has fallen to the hands of specialized interests, and is enthralled by the depthless mirrored image of spectacle. What had once been an instrument of information now serves mainly to incite and titillate the masses.

It's my opinion that WikiLeaks, and sites like it that supply an outlet for whistle blowers, should have our support as members of the Fourth Estate.

A grateful thank you to everyone that has participated in this discussion.

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    Oct 23 2012: Hi Daniel,

    In my view, whistle blowers provide (if small) some balance of power.

    Now, one of the reasons why the question spars so much debate is because we all feel that we are on the right side of the morally right vs. morally wrong divide line. Whether we admit it or not, we see the other group as not-so-morally-sound

    Of course, that is a mere illusion. We can't be all in the morally right crowd at the same time or else there would not be any debate. We all must accept that we may be a little wrong from time to time about our own self perception.

    Example: A gay couple that tries to live privately has very little impact on rest of their community. Those who claim to be "morally offended" or to "psychologically suffer" in any way when they see a gay couple, most of the time are just trying to get others to live in the same way they do. So they ostracize, and single out and try to shame others into compliance. So that's a secret which does more damage if made public than left alone.

    Example 2: A president has an affair and tries to deny it. You may say that people have a more valid "right" to feel morally offended by this than the previous example, but still, the real damage is to himself, to his wife/family and his lover. Everybody else outside claiming pain because of this falls in the same category (trying to make the president behave the way they would). Maybe if he was spending tax money on this i would find it a bit offensive

    Example 3: The military learns about the death of innocent lives and not only keeps silent, but tries to keep the episode hidden. Not only the number of people affected is much bigger, but the amount of public money spent is significantly larger. I may not be in the morally right group, but i take more offense with keeping this third example a secret.

    One thing that should NOT be a secret is the very definition of what constitutes a matter of "National Security" (nor should any group hold a monopoly on this definition)

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      Oct 23 2012: we all must accept that we may be a little wrong from time to time about our own self perception

      i totally agree with you .

      the ture me is not the real me .what i thought my self is not what i am .i think we are often describing ourself ,our thought which are always giving us the fouse information.about ourself .
      so never define yourself. or we can not well know ourselves..

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