The War on the Media

We’ve been covering the recent scandals with Benghazi and the investigation of the AP. Another scandal has emerged this week: the investigation of Jeffrey Rosen, a Fox News correspondent. The Administration tracked his movements in the State Department, tracked his calls and got a warrant for his e-mails. His alleged crime? Stephen Kim, a State Department Advisor, told Rosen that it was believed that North Korea would response to additional sanctions with more nuclear missile tests. Rosen then reported it. And the Feds are basically accusing him being a co-conspirator in a criminal leak case because he encouraged the source.

Read that last sentence again, because Obama’s defenders have been trying to muddy the waters. Obama did not just track Rosen to find out who the leaker was. He did it with the intention of bringing potential criminal charges against Rosen himself for being a co-conspirator.

There is an argument to be made that that the leak endangered a source (and that the AP leak did as well). If we want to have a debate about whether it is a good idea for journalists to acquire and leak classified information, I’m willing to have that. I tend to side against the government keeping secrets, but it’s a worthy debate.

But that’s not the important point here. The important point is whether our government should be investigating and possibly bringing criminal charges against journalists who publicize leaked info. Glenn Greenwald:

Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.

This actually got its start with the prosecution of Wikileaks. While I’m no fan of Wikileaks (and especially not Julian Assange), the legal theory the Administration used to go after them was extremely broad. In fact, they admitted in court that the theory would have allowed them to prosecute the New York Times as well. But everyone ignored that ominous thundercloud because, well, it was Wikileaks. But now we’re seeing that theory extended into the mainstream media.

It is virtually impossible at this point to overstate the threat posed by the Obama DOJ to press freedoms. Back in 2006, Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales triggered a major controversy when he said that the New York Times could be prosecuted for having revealed the Top Secret information that the NSA was eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without warrants. That was at the same time that right-wing demagogues such Bill Bennett were calling for the prosecution of the NYT reporters who reported on the NSA program, as well as the Washington Post’s Dana Priest for having exposed the CIA black site network.

But despite those public threats, the Bush DOJ never went so far as to formally accuse journalists in court filings of committing crimes for reporting on classified information. Now the Obama DOJ has.

I have to give Greenwald credit, as always. Huge swathes of the Liberal Echosphere are either ignoring this story or siding with the government. Three acts in and they still have their head in the sand. I almost think that if Obama had Rachel Maddow dragged off the air in chains, a hundred liberals would spring up to defend the action.

The common thread that ties together the scandals on the AP wiretapping, Benghazi and the investigation of Jeffrey Rosen is the Obama Administration’s absolute obsession with message control. They have prosecuted more whistle blowers and leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. They have now opened up criminal investigations of journalists who revealed information they wanted kept secret. They not only process, clean and fillet every statement that comes out of their Administration, they want to do it for everyone else as well.

And really, can you blame them?

The press-punishing, speech-chilling, and unabashedly overreaching actions by the Obama administration against the Associated Press and Fox News Channel’s James Rosen lay bare the essential dynamic between any president and a press that is always more prone to being lapdogs than watchdogs: the president feeds or punishes them as he sees fit, while chanting a bogus rosary about “national security.”

Because they tend to share his broad outlook on politics, too many journalists for too long have been in the tank for Obama, explaining away or minimizing his policy failures and reversals. Remember Obama’s heartfelt insistence that he would run the most transparent administration ever? Take a look at this document about warrantless searches of text messages that his administration finally coughed up to the ACLU and get back to me. It’s 15 pages of completely redacted prose. Such a document would be funny if it wasn’t coming from a secrecy-obsessed administration that has put the brakes on fulfilling FOIA requests and has charged a record number of people under the Espionage Act.

Many of the media are still in the tank, trying to explain away or rationalize Obama’s behavior. But I expect with each revelation that comes out — and you know there’s more coming — that this refusal to engage will be chipped away at. Eventually, people are going to realize that when the President feels like he can investigate anyone, no one is safe.

Let me be clear: the President has a duty to protect classified information, especially when that information is critical to national security. But his duty is to find and plug leaks within the government. When he extends that authority to investigating and prosecuting journalists, he is endangering our most basic freedoms.

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  1. Mississippi Yankee

    They have now opened up criminal investigations of journalists who revealed information they wanted kept secret. They not only process, clean and fillet every statement that comes out of their Administration, they want to do it for everyone else as well.

    Now does this sound like the actions of an incompetent Administration or the actions of a Regime® with an agenda?
    I have no disillusion that the “meat puppet marionette” in OUR House is behind all, or even any, of this sedition but he is feed what to say to his underlings. Oh and then deny his ass off after the fact.

    Did I mention that I don’t trust my government?

    We (me and mine) will be spending most of this Memorial Day weekend remembering what many good men fought and died for in the pre-Obunga daze. Of course there will be guns and beer, a side of beef, and all the ‘tater salad’ you can eat at our Armaggeddon Retreat.

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  2. AlexInCT

    And now we find out that when Holder pretended to not know about the seizure of the Fox News reporter’s information, he lied, because his boss now admits Holder is the one to OK the seizures. I am sure that investigator he assigned to investigate himself will find that nothing bad at all happened, and anyone of us that points out this isn’t just a conflict of interest, but a total travesty of justice, will be accused of being conspiracy loons. Funny how more and more shit comes out about how little regard for decency and the law this administration – the same one that promised us the most ethical and transparent administration ever – has, the more the moonbats are driven to pretend that it is nothing to worry about and that the people up in arms about the abuses of power, the constant lies, and the all-out assault on our freedoms by these fascist-marxist-nannystater monsters are the ones with the issues.

    Oh yeah, one shouldn’t lose track of the fact that one of the reporters we now are getting evidence about the government secretly spying on happens to be one that was looking into the whole “Fast & Furious” government gun grabbing project and had actually gotten information from the very whistleblowers the DOJ & WH then targeted for devastation.

    Those of us that were told we were making much ado about nothing were right: These fuckers are evil and would stoop to anything to fuck us over.

    Again: what do you think the retards now making excuses or trying to soften the impact of these stories would be doing if the president had an (R) next to his name and his DOJ was doing what Holder has been doing for the last 5 years? Shit, Boosh had to endure scandalous treatment for all sorts of faux crises and manufactured stories to make him look bad, and now that Team Blue is in charge the LSM is falling all over itself to excuse real abuses of power and major league criminal activity. But the problem is with those of us that don’t realize how great the incompetent, downright criminal, and evil fucks in charge are.

    Nixon got shafted. He was forced to resign for what amounts to a bad a joke when what happened is compared to the real and unbelievable abuse of power we have had and are finaly getting information about that has been going on for the last 5 years. The best vindication is that in the end the left will be stuck with the fact that even a shitty president like Boosh did a better job than their magic choom-shroom idiot and his cadre of criminals.

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  3. Seattle Outcast

    I bet that when the shit if finally cleaned off of this one you’ll find that Valerie Jarrett was the one giving the orders. Obama doesn’t have the paranoia or brain power to be the one instigating it.

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  4. Xetrov

    anyone of us that points out this isn’t just a conflict of interest, but a total travesty of justice, will be accused of being conspiracy loons.

    Racist conspiracy loons.

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  5. Mississippi Yankee

    I bet that when the shit if finally cleaned off of this one you’ll find that Valerie Jarrett was the one giving the orders.

    YES, an unelected, unvetted WOman of a preferential ethnic background. Can’t be indicted fo’ shizzle…and everyone knows it.

    The worst that can ever happen to her is going back to Chicago a wealthier and more powerful woman. Rahm will greet her with open arms…that is, if he’s smart .

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