Once again, we see that the Democrats are guilty of exactly what they accuse the Republicans of. It’s ironic that President Trump has such a contentious relationship with the media when, in fact, it was Obama that engaged in a widespread effort to thwart the media. And then covered it up. Which is more harmful to the media and the Constitution… suppression or confrontation?
We heard about Obama’s fascist tactics when it came to a Fox News reporter. But we did not get anywhere near the whole story it would seem. That’s only rising to the surface now. The Columbia Journalism Review reports on a newly released government document showing that the Obama Justice Department engaged in a far more sweeping effort to spy on the Associated Press than previously believed. And there is no way it stopped there either.
“In 2013, the Justice Department launched a brazen attack on press freedom,” the CJR notes, “issuing sweeping subpoenas for the phone records of The Associated Press and several of its reporters and editors as part of a leak investigation. At the time, the subpoenas were widely seen as a massive intrusion into newsgathering operations. Last month, we learned that they told only part of the story.”
The spying on the AP and their reporters came during a thwarted Yemen-based bomb plot, which contained classified information about the CIA operation. Months later, the AP learned that the DOJ had vacuumed up two-months of phone records on 21 different lines trying to find the leaker. And the left screams over Trump? This is what should have their blood boiling.
From Issues & Insights:
“Upon learning this, the AP blasted the Obama Justice Department. AP’s President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the records collected could “reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”
“Turns out, Pruitt should have been even more outraged. The new report, obtained by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, finds that the DOJ actually collected records on 30 phones.
“The report shows that DOJ attorneys at one point considered subpoenaing records of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and ABC News and “strongly suggests that the attorneys went so far as to obtain ‘telephone numbers and other contact information’ for reporters and editors at those organizations who had worked on articles about the Yemen bomb plot.”
“The CJR goes on to say, “Disturbingly, the report does not come close to explaining why the subpoenas targeted the trunk lines of major AP offices — lines which could potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the AP’s newsgathering activities.”’
This was not the only instance of intrusion either against reporters who dared to challenge the way Obama spun events.
More from Issues & Insights:
“Obama repeatedly barred Fox reporters from events. At one point, it named Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in a leak case being pursued under the Espionage Act. Obama’s communications director Anita Dunn said the White House treated Fox News “the way we would treat an opponent.”
“The administration also spent seven years trying to force New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal his sources.
“Risen, writing in The New York Times in 2016, noted bitterly how “Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.”
“In 2013, Leonard Downie called Obama’s efforts to control information “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”
“When not harassing reporters, Obama officials refused to cooperate with them, racking up the worse record for fulfilling FOIA of any previous administration. Obama even routinely banned news photographers from official events so he could keep an iron grip on his image. Michelle Obama banned the press from her taxpayer-paid China visit.
“Also around this time, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to investigate whether newsrooms were meeting their communities’ “critical information needs.”
“On Obama’s watch, the U.S. ranking for press freedom dropped to 46th place.”
Most of the attacks against the press during Obama’s reign either went unnoticed or unreported. When on camera, Obama pretended to champion the free press and the media fawned over him. But the truth of the matter is that whenever a reporter tried to put out unflattering facts about Obama and his policies, they found themselves attacked by the DOJ.
The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik wrote in 2014 that “I have been comparing Obama to Nixon in his disdain for the First Amendment and a free press since 2009, and mainly all I got was attacked — often from long-time colleagues in the media who couldn’t believe the object of their political affection could have such contempt for them.”
It is beyond hypocritical that the left says how unfriendly Trump is to the press when actually Obama was far more antagonistic to them… just in an underhanded way. Yet, the press still gushes over Obama and lambastes Trump despite the facts. Interesting.