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October 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While revelations about torture, civilian deaths, and out-of-control private contractors contained in the latest WikiLeaks documents — nearly 400,000 of them — made international headlines over the weekend, they were given short shrift by U.S. broadcast and cable news services. Germany’s Der Spiegel observed on Sunday: “Neither the Afghanistan war nor Iraq are issues in the current congressional election campaigns, which center around populist quarrels over the economy, unemployment and the national debt. The primetime shows on the big U.S. cable news networks — Fox News, MSNBC, CNN — on Friday barely mentioned the Iraq publications.” Part of the reason may have been their sheer volume. Of the U.S. media, only the New York Times and CNN were offered an advance look at the documents. And indeed, the Times‘s coverage appears to be the most extensive of any news organization. CNN said it turned down the offer “because of conditions that were attached to accepting the material.” When CNN’s Atika Shubert interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the news network Friday night, she focused on allegations of sexual misconduct against him made by two Swedish women. He told Shubert, “I’m going to walk if you’re going to contaminate this extremely serious interview with questions about my personal life.” When she did, he did.