Menace or Assurance? :
A Rhetorical Perspective on the Issue of WikiLeaks
Founded in 2006 by Australian journalist Julian Assange, the website WikiLeaks had quickly risen in infamy over the past few years (Majerol 19). The controversial website had posted hundreds of thousands of classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan war, revealing government cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians among many things. The release of these confidential documents has produced two opposing views on whether or not WikiLeaks is a good thing (Pilger 18).
In an article highlighting the benefits of WikiLeaks, Steven Greenhut explains that Julian Assange and his website have “done our nation a service”. Greenhut asserts that by distributing the details on how U.S. government runs its foreign affairs, WikiLeaks is embodying the true spirit of a transparent government, one that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. A truly open government, he says, is the “cornerstone of a free society”. The government, he says, will always pull out the “’endangering lives’ or ‘protecting security’” card in order to protect its own interests and conceal its past transgressions. He insists that there is no proof that any information released by the website will endanger anyone. The only people who will be negatively affected, Greenhut says, would be the government officials whose “hypocrisy and corruption” would be shamefully exposed (Greenhut 1.)
In the opposite side of the argument stands S.E. Cupp. In an article, she says that WikiLeaks and its proponents are jeopardizing innocent life by recklessly releasing unfiltered information for the entire world to access. She argues that by irresponsibly posting classified information, WikiLeaks is putting the safety of individuals and nations at risk. She calls the website “information terrorism”, which, according to her, is holding sensitive information for ransom. She also questions the legitimacy of the documents posted by WikiLeaks. Since the information was essentially stolen, she says, who can truly verify the truth behind the documents? Furthermore, Cupp strongly rejects the idea of WikiLeaks being a journalistic service because the best journalists, she says, always consider the consequences of the information they release, something WikiLeaks is “all too willing to compromise” (Cupp 1).
This paper will not align itself behind a certain view in an attempt to twist the reader’s arm into believing one side is better than the other. It will provide no opinion whatsoever as to which side you should belong to; it will leave the qualities and failings of the argument itself alone.
Rather, this paper will outline the rhetoric behind each op-ed. It will analyze each op-ed for strengths and weaknesses in its use of logic (logos), ethics (ethos) and appeal to the reader (pathos). It will evaluate how the evidence is presented, answering whether the evidence is enough, whether it is...