I find that I’m increasingly bemused by the subjective component of the various diplomatic cables being leaked. What the hell is it with the US having a bit of a tizzy over the Labour Party screening Fahrenheit 9/11 as a fund raiser? I get that US diplomats serving in Wellington probably aren’t the smartest of the bunch. But really! Contacting the Prime Minister’s office because of a film screening? As the Guardian comments:
Labelling the event a “potential fiasco”, the classified cable from the US embassy in Wellington in 2003 reads like a failed plotline for an episode of In the Loop, breathlessly reporting a series of calls to the New Zealand prime minister’s office and to the minister involved, Marian Hobbs
Then there was the claim that the arrest of Israeli spies trying to procure false passports was nothing to do with arresting people for illegal activities, but a cunning ploy to boost lamb sales to Arab countries. Where do these people get their amazing analytical prowess from? I understand that they operate from a certain ideological perspective, but when everything is viewed in terms of ‘anti Americanism’ (whatever that means) or trade, then the point of their function really has to come into question.
If diplomats are meant to be the eyes and ears of their governments, what does it say for the informed viewpoint of their government when real world events are routinely contorted and squeezed to fit the ideological prerogatives of their government? Misleading the public by spinning a line is one thing, but what’s the point in misleading and spinning yourself? When I hear of diplomats claiming, for example, that Cuba banned ‘Sicko’ when in fact it had been shown on state TV, I’m reminded of Mao’s China.
Apparently, officials there reported ideological expectations in the face of contradictory realities, going so far as to transplant rice paddies, thus making it appear that ideology was trumping natural agricultural limitations.
And where does our media sit in this strange battle ground of ideology versus reality that has been unveiled by Wikileaks? Well, by happily failing to separate the objective content of the cables from the extra-ordinary pronouncements of the diplomats, our media is lending credence to the strange disconnected world of ideology, within which, the self referencing diplomatic community and their governments seem to be irredeemably mired. Ascribing undeserved news worthiness to subjective diplomatic commentary means our media is presenting puerile gossip in lieu of news and failing to inject any notions of accountability into proceedings. And that’s lamentable. But not only are they squandering an opportunity to construct meaningful insights or analyses on the nature of the diplomatic community and gvernment, they are diminishing the potential future impact of any serious content contained in the cables. And that’s not acceptable.