News Interest Index: Most Say WikiLeaks Release Harms Public Interest

  • December 08, 2010

Most Americans following news about the WikiLeaks website's release of a huge trove of classified documents about U.S. diplomatic relations see the revelations – which have received extensive media coverage – doing more harm than good.

Six-in-ten (60%) of those paying attention to the story say they believe the release of thousands of secret State Department communications harms the public interest. About half that number (31%) say the release serves the public interest, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted Dec. 2-5 among 1,003 adults.

Yet the public makes a distinction between WikiLeaks itself and the press' handling of the document release. While nearly four-in-ten (38%) of this group say news organizations have gone too far in reporting the confidential material, a comparable number (39%) say the media has struck the right balance. Just 14% say news organizations have held back too much of the classified material.

Read the full report, Most Say WikiLeaks Release Harms Public Interest on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.