Monday, April 2, 2007

William's theory of leaks

The above title mustn't give you false hopes. I'm not about to expound a set of principles and proofs that might earn me a Nobel Prize. In fact, my "theory" on leaks might be summed up in a three-word aphorism: Nobody leaks innocently! All I mean to say is that, whenever we hear of journalists suddenly having access to information that's normally supposed to be of a confidential nature, it might be a good idea to ask questions of the following kind: Who in particular might have reaped benefits from the divulgation of this information? What kinds of benefits? And why?

Another way of putting it is that press leaks are generally organized, indeed engineered. They're like the celebrated French miracle aimed at promoting today the saintlike qualities of the late pope. [Click here to see my article on this subject.] Leaks, like miracles, don't just happen, out of the blue. They're put into circulation purposely, like rumors, with precise aims in view.

I don't yet know who exactly made the decision to leak the information about a Thorpe doping query, but I imagine that this mysterious leaker [Let's call him Monsieur Leak] was seeking to achieve certain ends. Meanwhile, all Australia has started to go mad. The national director of swimming is even yelling out about the idea of hiring a private investigator to collar Monsieur Leak, as if that might solve anything.

When in trouble, when in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout!

For the last 24 hours or so, that's what Australia has been doing: running in swimming circles, screaming and shouting. I have the impression that Monsieur Leak [whoever he is] may have been awaiting these reactions. Maybe they tell him something about the fundamental but murky question of whether or not Ian Thorpe really is guilty of doping. Organized leaks aim to obtain information.

It would be good if everything were to calm down, as in an Olympic pool. Meanwhile, the procedures evolve...