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CachedDecoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture$
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Stephanie Ricker Schulte

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708668

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708668.001.0001

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(p.165) Conclusion

Stephanie Ricker Schulte

NYU Press

This concluding chapter argues how knowing and understanding the history of discourses that have shaped the perception of the Internet's meanings, problems, and possibilities lends insight into ongoing developments and debates. It turns to the WikiLeaks scandal where diplomatic “cables” containing classified information were released to the public. As journalists, academics, and politicians in the halls of Congress debated, discourses explored in the previous chapters emerge. The coverage of WikiLeaks was reminiscent of the “teenaged technology” discourse from the 1980s, which cast Internet users as rebellious teenagers with the potential to destroy the world. Additionally, the story of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, as a country-hopping bandit avoiding legal retribution was mapped onto WikiLeaks itself. The chapter also describes how WikiLeaks emblematized early news media fantasies of the best of what the blogosphere could offer and the company's role in sparking the 2010 Arab Spring.

Keywords:   Internet, WikiLeaks scandal, diplomatic cables, classified information, Congress, teenaged technology discourse, Julian Assange, news media, blogosphere, 2010 Arab Spring

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