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Pew Survey: Public Views WikiLeaks Document Release as Harmful

A man points towards the Wikileaks memos shown on a TV screen at an electronic shop in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari sought a pledge from the United Arab Emirates to allow his family long-term refuge, as they did for his late wife, if he died or was killed, according to a secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) Fareed Khan

Most Americans paying attention to WikiLeaks' release of U.S. diplomatic cables over the last ten days believe that the disclosures harm the public interest, according to a recent Pew Research Center News Interest Index survey.

Among those surveyed, 60 percent said the documents released by WikiLeaks harm the public interest, and 31 percent believe that they serve the public interest. The survey was conducted Dec. 2-5 among 1,003 adults.

A minority--38 percent--of those surveyed believe the press has gone too far in exposing confidential material, while 39 percent believe the press is handling the news appropriately.

News consumers surveyed in August around the release of classified documents chronicling the war in Afghanistan were more evenly divided in their opinions--47 percent believed the release harmed the public interest, and 42 percent said it served the public interest.

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