As a high school student when I was tasked with the job to choose the major I’d like to pursue in college, I was immediately drawn to journalism. Not because I knew what a nut graph was, or how to write an anecdotal lead, or because I knew how to tell the difference between corporate and independent media, but because writing was something I was good at. When it came time to choose a school, Ithaca College seemed to be a perfect fit for me, and I couldn’t have been more right.
As a freshman in Intro to Journalism I learned AP Style like the back of my hand, how to structure an article in a way that made sense, where commas actually belong and to never write “1”.
Now as a junior my eyes have been opened to all that journalism has to offer, and the real reason why I chose to pursuit it as a highschooler.
I have always been obnoxiously curious, and with journalism, I am not alone in that regard. I leave every journalism class either frustrated, obsessed, confused and sometimes all at once. As journalism students we are told that it is important to know what is going on in the world, but I’ve become obsessed with knowing anything and everything.
My newest obsession has become whistleblowers, primarily due to this class. First it was Edward Snowden and now I have taken a particularly deep interest in Chelsea Manning. My interest lies in what their motivations were to do something so unheard of, and to risk their lives to do it.
I think both Snowden and Manning acted upon the basis of “knowledge is power.” Both believed that the American public should be able to know what is actually going on in the country.
Tomorrow, Chelsea Manning will go before the disciplinary board of the U.S. army to face the charges that are the outcome of her suicide attempt. The worst outcome that she could face? Solitary confinement.
What Manning has gone through not only for leaking government documents through Wikileaks, but due to her mental state while in prison, has been appalling. She has been denied the proper medical treatment that she deemed necessary and has been forced to stand naked for hours.
Creator of the infamous Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has agreed to turn himself in if President Obama decides to pardon Manning. Assange’s lawyers at Wikileaks has even written a letter to the Attorney General of the U.S., Loretta Lynch, stating the conditions.
After Oliver Stone’s film Snowden, came out, a petition was released, spearheaded by Amnesty International, along with other human rights groups, for a presidential pardon of Snowden. Additionally, Snowden has released a statement stating that he will come back to the U.S., if he receives a fair trial. However, the Obama administration denied the pardon and seem unwilling to give Snowden a fair trial. Therefore, if he ever returns to the states, he will most likely spend the majority of the rest of his life in prison.
I guess my frustration lies in the fact that people such as Manning and Snowden, who are trying to fix things in our country are facing dangerous charges and are seen in a negative light by a majority of Americans. Meanwhile the people who pretend they are “fixing” things, such as politicians, are seen as saviors.