Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stop the presses! ABC News practices journalism in public!!

It's pretty sad that it actually is news in the United States when a journalist for a major news service acts like a journalist in public.

In this unfortunately rare case, Jake Tapper of ABC challenged White House press flak Jay Carney on the Obama Administration very aggressive policy against whistleblowers and journalists who report on their revelations, as Bmaz discusses in Jake Tapper Flummoxes Jay Carney On White House Press Policy Hypocrisy Emptywheel 02/22/2012.

As Bmaz explains:

It is an easy out for Carney to say he cannot talk about defendants and cases, but he can sure be questioned about the consistent policy of chilling reporters such as Jim Risen and Siobhan Gorman.

If you really want to show the hypocrisy, there is the story that is not emphasized enough. The Bush DOJ had subpoenaed Risen in the Sterling matter for the grand jury phase, but dropped it when he moved to quash. The Obama Administration, once again going to extremes even the much maligned Bush/Cheney one would not, reinstated the effort to haul Risen in front of a grand jury on Sterling and break his source protection. Judge Leonie Brinkema quashed the effort rather sharply.

But the DOJ has now gone after Risen a third time in their effort to squelch the ability of reporters to interact with sources, and protect the relationship. Even after Brinkema granted limited questioning of Risen at trial, that was not enough, the DOJ has appealed to get more. The thing is, the government does not need more from Risen to try Jeffrey Sterling, and that finding was made and supported well by Judge Brinkema. It is gratuitous and meant to chill the press, not just leakers. It is not just me saying that, it is a coalition of 29 news organizations, including ABC News.
The Obama Administration's position on government secrecy is the most extreme ever, worse than the Cheney-Bush Administration, and that's saying a lot. I have no doubt that Presidents Romney and Santorum would be even worse. But this is a real problem with the Obama Administration.

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