Free Press

Obama Continues Reign as Abusive Husband of American Media

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"When the media reports things I don't want them to sometimes I just can't control myself and lash out. I swear I'm working on it."
Credit: White House

At a conference on media coverage of national security issues in New York, New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration "the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation." He would certainly know. The Department of Justice is trying to force him to reveal whether a former CIA official is a source of classified information he used in a book. The CIA agent, Jeffrey Sperling, is one of seven Americans the Obama administration has charged under the Espionage Act of 1917.

The Nixonification of the administration on free press issues is not exactly new news. As usual, I'm left wondering why journalists are surprised that an administration that wants to control so much of Americans' lives with health care mandates and an omnipresent framework of executive branch regulation also wants to control them. Were they really, truly surprised that they would be included among that which the Obama administration seeks to manhandle into compliance? Risen added the media has been "too timid" in responding. Maybe it's because other media outlets aren't being affected? To put a cynical spin on it, the media has largely been fine with the expansion of executive branch power under Barack Obama except when it affects the media. While there's an increasing interest in media scrutiny of national security issues, it's still a small portion of what the media does. If many media outlets' concerns about executive power are based only on self-interest, then those who aren't involved in security reporting might not care what happens to guys like Risen.

And then there's also the "working the ref" angle Reason's Matt Welch noted last year when looking at the media's failure to adequately critique the Affordable Care Act before the whole thing went into effect and immediately crashed and burned. Our media is often just as thin-skinned about criticism as our president is rumored to be. And the surest way to put the media on the defensive is to accuse it of unfairness and of being manipulated. Example: Note how intelligence officials claim the media doesn't truly understand the information Edward Snowden is leaking and is misreporting, even though the facts of the documents Snowden has provided have not been disproven. But because of the pressure of this response from the intel community, the media feels compelled to pass along any claim that NSA metadata surveillance has helped prevent terrorist attacks, despite the lack of any evidence that the claim is at all true.

In other news about the relationship between government and media, obviously whenever a government official claims they will put policies or laws into place that preserve media freedom, it should immediately be treated as likely nonsense. After the Department of Justice revealed it had gotten secret subpoenas to gather the phone records of several Associated Press reporters to try to find a leak, the agency detailed new guidelines for behavior. The stated intent was to clarify and reduce situations where officials can demand records from journalists. Unfortunately, the policy gives the Department of Justice clearance to make decisions based on what it classifies as "ordinary newsgathering," which is not a distinction the government should be allowed to make. The DOJ also needs to believe that there are "reasonable grounds" that a crime has occurred, which is almost no protection at all from a government that is using an espionage law to try to convict leakers. When a government operates in an environment where it believes a crisis is an opportunity to expand its reach, there's a corollary: Treat every problem like a crisis. No doubt the DOJ will be able to manufacture "reasonable grounds" whenever it feels it needs to.

And that leads to the proposed federal shield law, which would help protect journalists from having to reveal sources to the federal government, mimicking the new DOJ policy. Except, again, it's full of all sorts of exceptions. All the feds have to do is convince a judge that the information is national security issue and the protection for journalists collapses. It also allows the feds to keep the delay in notifying media outlets that their records were taken if they believe notification would impair their investigations, which it almost always certainly would, so what happened to the Associated Press will likely happen again. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he thinks he has the votes to get the shield law through the Senate, but there's little reason to trust that adding one more judge to the mix will provide any better oversight.

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  1. The NYTimes is just clumsy, that’s all.

  2. O.T. Cop kills dog. Gloats about it. Lies on report. Nothing else happens.

    Devastated family claims police officer shot their dog for no reason then called the killing ‘awesome’

    Cali the pit bull was gunned down by officer Brice Woolley after she jumped over her garden fence in Ardmore, Oklahoma last week
    Woolley said watching her collar fly into the air after shooting her in the head was awesome, according to Cali’s owner, Sarah Brown
    Brown is now calling for justice and supporters want Woolley fired
    But the police department said the dog was acting aggressively and officers feared she would hurt someone

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..esome.html

    Woolley informed the animal control that he had shot the dog, adding: ‘We’ll just write in the report that she tried to attack you and others in the neighborhood’, according to witnesses.

    1. He got home safe that night. It’s all that matters.

    2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..esome.html

      Some of those photos should cause a number of PETA’s PR people to put a gun in their mouth.

      Seriously, I can’t fathom why Reason is a bigger advocate on this issue than PETA? Okay, that question is actually rather rhetorical, I can fathom lots of reasons. I guess I’m just surprised at the level of apathy and ignorance from the PETA community on this issue given it’s ability to leverage their core cause. I probably shouldn’t be surprised.

  3. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Obama is the media’s abusive husband because that implies that the media is his wife. When in fact, the media is more like his bitch. Maybe not a prison bitch necessarily, but certainly a bootlicking cur.

    1. When Obama is done with the press, the press’ asshole is going to be as loose as a clown’s pocket.

  4. The white liberal media was not ready for a black President. They are still too obsessed with race and ultimately too racist and self loathing to treat a black liberal President like any other President and hold them accountable in any way. Worse still, they took the easy route and played the race card against everyone who criticized this President. Okay, that was fun for a while and in some ways effective. The problem is that after you spend a couple of years accusing a lot of people with legitimate criticisms of Obama of being racist, how then do you criticize Obama yourself without being vulnerable to the same charge? You can’t and they are screwed as a result.

    At this point, there is nothing Obama could do that a large portion of the media would stand up and hold him accountable for. Worse still, there behavior has been so craven that I think they are going to have a lot harder time changing course and rediscovering their “watch dog” role with the next President regardless of which party that is. Everyone knows what lying hacks these people have been. Obama hasn’t even tried to cover up his abuses. Yeah, these people have no shame. But most of the country has just stopped listening to them or taking them seriously. You tell me how we are going to be able to have any accountability going forward.

    1. There is a reason why FOX News has the highest ratings.

      1. Because the CHRISTFAGS and BUSHPIGS love FAUX NEWS!!11!!!!
        /shreeky

      2. only amongst the 24 hour networks. They get buried by the big 3.

        1. The big three will die with the boomer generation.

      3. Does that mean that they’re “mainstream” now? I mean, if being part of a global media conglomerate hasn’t done that already, high ratings should put them over the top.

        1. They’ll never be mainstream as long as they have content that offends the progressives who define the narrative of what is mainstream and what is not.

    2. John, I think you’ll be shocked at how quickly the media does a 180 once there is a republican president. And they will brazenly claim they have always acted thus.

      1. I won’t be shocked at all. That is what they will do. They are the ones who are going to be shocked when their efforts no longer have the effect they once did.

        1. They are the ones who are going to be shocked when their efforts no longer have the effect they once did.

          Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I will need to see proof of this, given how they have been able to drag Obama over the finish line in 2012 and basically turn all of his scandals into non-stories.

          1. I hope you are right. I don’t want to ever see another President in my lifetime as unaccountable as Obama. We can only hope that this results in the country just silently understanding that we really can’t have any more black liberal Presidents for a while. And the media going back to holding Presidents’ accountable. That would be the best case scenario.

            I fear what is going to happen is what Obama is doing is just going to lead to the next President to be even worse. And when the media tries to hold them accountable, no one listens or cares because the media covered for Obama so badly.

            1. Yeah, the proglodytes never seem to think that the abusive powers seized by Obama are eventually going to be used and expanded upon by the next republican president.

            2. I think it’s just going to get worse – once power is given, er, taken – it is that much harder to take away.

    3. PHONY SCANDALS, John.

      PHONY.

      SCANDALS.

      You just hate half-white people, don’t you, John?

      /progderp

  5. “Our media is often just as thin-skinned about criticism as our president is rumored to be.

    fixed it

    1. The thickness of the President’s skin is a national security issue. I hope you know a good espionage lawyer.

  6. …”And the surest way to put the media on the defensive is to accuse it of unfairness and of being manipulated.”…

    IOWs, point out the truth. Pisses ’em off no end!

  7. White House Chief of Staff on Jay Mohr Sports pimping Obamacare. I want to fucking kill someone. No, kill everyone!

    1. Russia invades Ukraine and Obama goes on Ellen DeGeneris’ show to have her tell him how great Obamacare is. These people are just morons.

      1. “Russia invades Ukraine and Obama goes on Ellen DeGeneris’ show to have her tell him how great Obamacare is.”

        But, John, he was studying the “Night Watch” in Amsterdam yesterday! He’s CULTURED! He’s dreamy!

    2. Wait, really? What the fuck does that have to do with sports? Is he just going to casually toss in the president’s tourney picks to justify appearing on a sports talk show?

      1. Everything is politics to these people. They are totalitarian. There is no sphere of life beyond politics.

      2. As a frequent tweeter to, and sometimes caller to the show, I am disappointed. I’m giving up on the show. Too bad. I liked it a lot.

        1. Yeah, that is disappointed since I’ve always liked Jay Mohr. Perhaps you should email them to explain your disappointment in them contaminating what should be an apolitical sphere of sports entertainment with petty and divisive politics.

          1. Maybe. I just tweeted Jay. But I think the show, and Fox Sports need to feel the pain. Otherwise it’ll happen again.

          2. This is outreach. All the Obamabots who think sports are barbaric and distract from “real issues” will watch Jay Mohr, and if Jay is as obsequious and fawning as the real media, maybe they will keep watching his show and other Fox Sports programming.

  8. Deep down the media knows that when Big Daddy Barack hits them he doesn’t really mean it. You don’t know the kind of pressure he’s under and it’s their fault, really, for egging him on and not giving him enough respect.

    If they apologize and give him a nice gift (like quashing another scandal), I’m sure he’ll love them again.

  9. Still waiting for the day when the press just starts boycotting White House press conferences in protest of Chocolate Nixon. Not holding my breath, just waiting.

    1. Chocolate Nixon. That’s good wholesome humor.

      1. Though on further examination I have to wonder whether you’re calling him the black Richard Nixon, or you’re referring to a rimjob involving Nutella.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com…..=Chocolate Nixon

        1. http://www.urbandictionary.com…..olatenixon

          correct link

        2. I have to wonder whether you’re calling him the black Richard Nixon, or you’re referring to a rimjob involving Nutella.

          Since the poster’s nick isn’t “Sugarfree” I am going to assume the former.

  10. Were they really, truly surprised that they would be included among that which the Obama administration seeks to manhandle into compliance?

    Signs point to yes.

    He’s one of the good guys, one of them. How could he possibly betray their unconditional trust in him?

  11. To put a cynical spin on it, the media has largely been fine with the expansion of executive branch power under Barack Obama except when it affects the media.

    That’s not cynical.

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