Whistleblowing site Wikileaks just scored a huge negative PR strike when it tried to capitalise on the slaying of a nine year old girl during a botched assassination on a US senator.
According to Wikileaks, the slaying was typical of the atmosphere in the US at the moment which was currently being taken out against Wikileaks boss Julian Assange.
You read it right. Wikileaks just took a tragedy and made it all about the persecution of poor Julian who is currently on bail awaiting extradition to Sweden on a charge which can be loosely described as “treating women like shit”.
The outfit moaned that WikiLeaks staff and contributors have also been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin, who urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”.
It listed a few other loony politicians, including Mike Huckabee who called for the execution of WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on his Fox News program last November. Then rounded off with Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, referring to Assange, publicly called for people to “illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”
Yeah ok we know all that. But at some point, Wikileaks decided to link the threat of persecution with the actual real tragedy of a nutter sticking very real bullets into children. This is a fairly tasteless and cynical thing to do.
Wikilinks has done some pretty good stuff. It should be presenting itself as a justifiable tool of the free press and free speech. Instead it is pushing itself as a paranoid tin foil hat wearing organisation which thinks that every disaster in the universe is all about how the US is picking on Julian.
What will happen next?
A bomb goes off in a mosque in Iraq, killing 60 people… Assange claims it is symbolic about how the US government wants to kill him in a terrorist prison.
Flooding in Australia? It is all a plot to undermine my country of birth claims Assange.
World War Two was a long running campaign to strangle Assange and Wikileaks before either was born.
It looks like the people who left Wikileaks because they wanted Assange to stand down were right. Wikileaks has become his image and that is completely paranoid and odious. As such it will lose a lot of support. People spurn tin foil hat wearers in the same way they avoid those nutters on the street trying to sell you Jesus or ask you for a dollar for a cup of coffee.
If someone is advising Wikileaks on their PR they should be fired, but I suspect, like many things to do with Wikileaks these days, it is all about Julian.