Freed From Partisan Divisions, Press-Snooping Scandal Looks Likely To Linger

Reason 24/7ReasonThe Obama administration has finally created unity — of outrage over surveillance of news organizations and threats against journalists. By targeting both media organizations that have traditionally been supportive of the administration and organizations that have been critical of the White House, the Justice Department has managed to alienate journalists across the political spectrum. Those media organizations have become mutually supportive, too, if only to escape suspicion of tribalism and hypocrisy. Freed of partisan taint, the scandal over the Obama administration's excesses in trying to stopper leaks looks unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

From Politico:

Until this week, the recent debate over leaks largely fit a familiar frame: Republicans and national security hard-liners faulted President Barack Obama’s administration for dishing out self-serving national security secrets to news outlets that many conservatives view as liberal.

But now, conservatives have a journalistic hero to call their own: Fox News reporter James Rosen may have reported sensitive information about North Korean nuclear tests — but what’s certain is he had his email searched and his phone calls and personal movements tracked in connection with that reporting by the government to find out who gave him the information. Rosen’s network is covering his predicament extensively.

“There’s sort of a delicious irony here,” said Mark Feldstein, a former investigative reporter for CNN. “Before it was only the left screaming about WikiLeaks and the government crackdown on leaks. Now they’re in a position, if they’re going to be logically consistent, they have to defend Fox News.

“And Fox News, which has been screaming about leaks to WikiLeaks and The New York Times and other establishment papers, are going to have to do a belly flip to be consistent.”

So far, the controversy over how far the Obama administration went to figure out who was leaking sensitive national security secrets to journalists has mostly been overshadowed by a pair of other storylines dominating Washington — Benghazi and the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

But any issue that has both conservatives and liberals lining up with exactly the same question — did the Obama administration go too far in its zeal to plug the leaks? — is one that could stay on the scene for a long time to come, especially with so many questions still unanswered.

Forget summer blockbusters; stock up on popcorn to watch how The Obama Administration vs. Anybody With an Inquisitive Mind plays out.

Note: Yes, Politico's quotes on the relative sincerity of Fox News and the New York Times are tendentious, but the organizations are working together, not getting a room.

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  • CampingInYourPark||

    And Fox News, which has been screaming about leaks to WikiLeaks and The New York Times and other establishment papers, are going to have to do a belly flip to be consistent.

    Maybe I missed something. Was Fox News calling for the DOJ to spy on the NYT?

  • ||

    "Those media organizations have become mutually supportive, too, if only to escape suspicion of tribalism and hypocrisy."

    That ship sailed a long time ago.

  • John Galt||

    Today, when anyone with a laptop computer or an inkjet printer is capable of being a journalist, who is safe from the current regime?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    The Director of the CIA?
    Wait, no.
    Nobody.
    Maybe Michelle O.

  • Rich||

  • John Galt||

    Holder seems to have something on whoever is calling the shots. Maybe he's another J. Edgar Hoover with a file full of dirt on everyone.

  • Bill||

    Hoder.

  • Dweebston||

  • Rich||

    stock up on popcorn to watch how The Obama Administration vs. Anybody With an Inquisitive Mind plays out.

    It's looking like that popcorn's gonna be accompanied by many "Fifths".

  • John Galt||

    Fifths from them; boring.
    Fifths for us; awesome.

  • Dweebston||

    +5 amendment.

  • Paul.||

    What about the frenemy of my enemy?

  • Len Bias||

    I must repeat: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LEGIT NON-PARTISAN CRITICISM OF OBAMA. His policies and behavior are simply too perfect, reasonable and impeccable to be criticized by anyone except you nut-job TeathugliKKKans.

    How many times must I repeat the above assertion before it FINALLY becomes the truth?

  • Paul.||

    “Before it was only the left screaming about WikiLeaks and the government crackdown on leaks

    Which "left"?

    The Amy Goodman Democracy Now! left? K.

    The New York Times, Washington Post left?

    Meh.

  • Jake Badlands||

    No, no, no, you've got this all wrong! The wheels are falling off these scandals! I heard it from a guy who heard it from the President himself!

  • CE||

    It should linger. And it's not really a scandal, it's a large scale violation of the civil rights of many American citizens under color of law, in violation of 18 USC 242, punishable by a range of imprisonment options up to and including the death penalty.

    http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/crm/242fin.php

  • CE||

    Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

    For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

    The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

  • Bill||

    And there are links between the three scandals.

    Both the IRS and the spying on media represent assaults on freedom of speech.

    And both the IRS scandal and Benghazi involve coverups.

    So both media on left and right should really not let any of these three scandals die too quickly.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Somebody read this and tell me what the fuck it says:

    Six MPs on the influential Commons culture, media and sport select committee have announced that they do not support the press industry's plan for a new regulator backed by a royal charter.

    The six Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have written to the privy council and the culture secretary, Maria Miller, to say they reject the rival royal charter being put forward by the Press Board of Finance (Pressbof), which funds the Press Complaints Commission, to underpin a new regulator.

    They said they are backing the original government charter, agreed by the three main parties in a late-night meeting in Ed Milliband's office in March during negotiations that also included members of the Hacked Off group campaigning for stricter press regulation

    http://reason.com/24-7/2013/05.....s-push-for

  • Paul.||

    Six MPs on the influential Commons culture, media and sport select committee

    Paused on that for a bit...

    announced that they do not support the press industry's plan for a new regulator backed by a royal charter.

    So they're agin the new UK media regulations. That's good.

    The six Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have written to the privy council and the culture secretary, Maria Miller, to say they reject the rival royal charter being put forward by the Press Board of Finance (Pressbof), which funds the Press Complaints Commission, to underpin a new regulator

    They lost me there. Sort of went downhill after that. But I'm at work trying to avoid work.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well from the American point of view, it's some chilling shit.

    You know that whole "freedom of the press" thing we wanted 230-semodd years ago? The British monarch still refuses to give that to his or her subjects. The Commons Culture, Media, and Sport committee is part of the Culture, Media and Sport department.

    From the department's website:

    Britain's media industries are changing. By making sure press, digital, broadcast and mobile services are available to all and responsibly managed, the UK government will encourage and support a thriving sector.

    The government can "regulate" the press, with all the nastiness that entails. The news industry has agreed to "regulate" itself, like comic books did in America with the Comics Code. The Press Council, which funds the damn thing, have nominated their own regulator, but Labour is having a hissy fit and want to nominate their own regulator.

    The regulator will get his or her power through the legal document known as a "royal charter"

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And yet, they still have a beter, more vibrant and diligent 'press' that America does.

  • Redmanfms||

    Their press plays for the correct TEAM every bit as much as our's does.

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