Fourth Amendment

Obama Administration's AP Snooping Finally Manages To Alienate the Press


Reason 24/7

If, somehow, you had acquired the notion that the majority of American journalists would forgive just about any sin on the part of the current administration, we now have evidence that there is a limit to their patience. Actually targeting journalists themselves for secret surveillance and snooping into their contacts with government officials is that bridge too far that all the president's men finally crossed.

From Politico:

Journalists on Monday called the news the Justice Department seized records from phone lines assigned to Associated Press offices and its reporters over a two month period "chilling" and a "dragnet to intimidate the media."

The AP reported the Justice Dept. obtained records that listed incoming and outgoing calls and the duration of those calls for work and personal phone numbers of AP reporters and phone lines for AP offices in New York, Hartford, Conn. and Washington, as well as the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery. The government seized records — which listed incoming and outgoing calls and the call's length — for more than 20 separate lines assigned to the AP and its reporters, according to the AP.

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren told POLITICO in an email that the DOJ's seizure "sounds like a dragnet to intimidate the media," not a criminal investigation. …

Meanwhile, CNN's John King — who worked for the AP for 12 years — questioned on "The Situation Room" whether the government may have crossed "a line" and done "something inappropriate" with its seizure of the phone records. The AP, he said, "is justifiably outraged.

The question now is whether fury over targeting of the news media will prove to be isolated, or whether it will uncork a host of frustrations over the administration's misbehavior in a few other areas such as **cough** IRS scrutiny of government critics or **cough** Benghazi or **cough** FBI email snooping.

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here. If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at, or tweet us stories at @reason247.

NEXT: Pentagon Civilian Employee Furloughs WIll Number 11 Days

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Dunno, JD. We’ll see if they respect themselves in the morning.

  2. Once the administration has made the necessary obeisances and regrets for mussing their hair, the lapdogs will be back to snoozing in the administration’s lap.

    1. Unless they botch the apology, which, with the clown posse he has as his administration, is entirely possible.

      1. Otto: [puts a bag over Archie’s head] Hello, Mr. Burglar! Going somewhere? Thought you could rob Mr. Leach, eh? Well, I’m going to teach you a lesson!

        [kicks him in the stomach]

        Otto: He just happens to be a very good friend of mine!

        Archie: Otto! Otto! Otto!

        Otto: [comes back with a long-handled pan] And he’s going to be very pleased with me to find you here, all tied up and ready for the police!

        [knocks Archie out with a pan]

        Otto: And don’t call me “Otto.” To you, I am “Mr…”

        [stops, lifts bag, sees it’s Archie, screams]

        Otto: Oh, my God… Oh… Oh my God. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

        [pats Archie’s face]

        Otto: Please, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was you. How could I know it was you? I mean, how could you expect me to guess? Stupid jerk! I mean, what the fuck were you doing *robbing* your *own house?*

        [kicks Archie in the stomach]

        Otto: You asshole! You stupid, stiff, pompous, English…!

        [screams and recoils]

        Otto: I’m sorry! I’m sorry. Uh… uh… yeah.


        1. Don’t call me stupid!

            1. Oh, you English are so superior, aren’t you? Well, would you like to know what you’d be without us, the good ol’ U.S. of A. to protect you? I’ll tell you. The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire, that’s what! So don’t call me stupid, lady. Just thank me.

              1. Well, thank you for popping in and protecting us.

  3. DOn’t forget Sebelius’ shakedown of insurers and others for “Voluntary” contributions to fully fund Obamacare outreach and all that other crap.

    It almost seems like someone in the permanent campaign did research on when in an election cycle one could get away with having a scandal exposed and they took that info and decided to drop 5 years worth.

  4. And the NYTimes will get right on that series on the Fast and Furious.

    1. The NYTimes movie critics refuse to review yet another one of those films.

  5. Hard to believe this administration is so stupid that they would spy on their own supporters, but there it is.

    1. Only loyalists can be traitors.

    2. That’s how it always goes. It’s like only eating dessert. Soon you begin differentiating some desserts as better than others and only eating them. Then those get differentiated. Pretty soon you’re only eating deep-fried grasshopper ice cream twinkies, and then PETA turns on you, finally realizing what a hypocrite you are, and the chimps refuse to do your hair any more, and you might as well go back to ironing blue dresses.

  6. The Big O will sweet talk them and all will be forgiven. Or better yet, remind them that he’s all they got. I mean, how much do they want same-sex marriage recognition? A lot? How much do they want gun control? Carbon rationing?

    Yeah, that’s what he thought. Take it all, bitch.

    1. I just can’t see the media doing a complete about-face, not this easily. Maybe some piling on, but they’re going to be all “But the GOP could be in power if we actually do our job–no, it can’t be!” before too long.

      1. Well, that all depends on whether there is a subset of journalists who, while mostly going along with the other super TEAM BLUE cheerleaders, are possibly a little concerned about all this covering up and not following up on stuff and other ethical considerations. If there is such a subset, this is their opportunity to come out of the woodwork.

        Does such a subset exist? I have no idea. It sure doesn’t seem like it.

        1. There are other tensions at work, too. For instance, if a decent minority of the left-cheerleading press decides to run with this. . .well, one thing news outlets hate is getting scooped. There’s a financial consequence to opting out of hot news, too, if others don’t play along.

          It’s one thing to sit out when it’s just Fox News, maybe.

          1. The cool kids of the newsroom will suddenly adopt cynical Menckenian poses. A few will even offer to buy me beers. (Well, a fella can dream.)

            1. It’s not impossible. It really would only take a few of the bootlickers to turn on the government to make a difference.

    2. The make up sex will be epic.

  7. When the juggernaut that people helped to build starts heading toward them, they hardly ever think, “Maybe we shouldn’t have helped to build that juggernaut in the first place.” Instead, they’ll continue to say that the juggernaut is okay as long as it’s only crushing someone else under its wheels. Never underestimate the power of special pleading.

    1. Golden Rule of Politics: Whatever you give the government the power to do unto others, it will use that power to do unto you.

      1. Quoth the Iron Law:

        Me today, you tomorrow.

  8. Welcome to the party, pal.

  9. Nope. They all (the young ‘uns, at least) dream of uncovering their own “Watergate.” “Yeah, the Dems are the good guys, but dammit! — I can smell a Pulitizer!”
    Some of them can taste a hint of blood in the water. It’ll be hard to reign them all in, now.

    1. I thumbed through a leftover copy of the Long Beach Press Telegram at my local bar last week. Other than one sports writer, and one city government reporter, there was no local news coverage. The newspaper gets thinner every week. Where are “journalists” going? It seems to me that the industry is shrinking, and if you want a job, you had better separate yourself from the pack. I think uncovering the next Watergate would be a pretty good way to get attention. But I just don’t see any of these young ‘uns getting that scoop.

      1. Gotta go big or go home. I keep pitching for my rag to open a Cleveland bureau and invade northern Ohio as the Plain Dealer goes down the drain. The Baton Rouge paper did the same when the N.O. Times-Picayune cut back to three days a week.

  10. Or rein. (Although editors do reign.)

    1. Rein/reign/rain is just like who/whom/loom.

  11. The question now is whether fury over targeting of the news media will prove to be isolated, or whether it will uncork a host of frustrations over the administration’s misbehavior in a few other areas such as **cough** IRS scrutiny of government critics or **cough** Benghazi or **cough** FBI email snooping.

    I am going 4 to 1 on the former.

    1. Somehow, this is all the Republicans’ fault. Perhaps they should be outlawed.

  12. I generally don’t have any FB friends who are uber-liberal. Any yummy tears out there?

    1. Mine have yet another thing not to talk about.

  13. Sorry to disappoint those of you hoping for a little drama from the knee-padded power-worshippers.

    The lewinsky press still has a slight vestige of a gag reflex.

    Happens every once in a while. That’s all.

  14. How dare those disloyal wretches criticize their betters. Obama should order full IRS audits of those journalists and their employers.

  15. The press was aggressive with Jay Carney today. They are already turning around (except for CNN).

    There is only one person the press looks out for more than their Messiah… themselves. This was a big mistake for our despotic President; good for the rest of us, thankfully.

  16. As reprehensible as this is, in a way, the Press got what they deserved. They cozied up to the sharks yet foolishly thought they’d never be eaten. The larger question is, will they LEARN from it?

    1. You’re not also implying that the more powerful a centralized government, the greater limits and controls it places on the media? ridiculous

  17. They will make excuses like they always have.

  18. Interestingly, today the AP came out with a scathing report about the number of birds killed by those darlings of BO: wind farms.

    Annually “killing these …’83,000 birds of prey and nearly another half million others’… is not just an irreplaceable loss for a vulnerable species. It’s also a federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.” /apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20130514/NEWS11/130519868 (take the spaces out to hit the link… the article is amazingly detailed, and rather lengthy).


  19. First they came for the Evangelicals,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an Evangelical.

    Then they came for the talk radio,
    and I didn’t speak out because I don’t listen to talk radio.

    Then they came for the Tea Party,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t part of the Tea Party.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    See what happens when you don’t defend liberty for everyone, especially the people you disagree with, AP? You deserve everything your getting, and then some.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.