Reasonable people can agree to disagree on the politics of the day.
But we ought not let “Ds” and “Rs” behind our names stop a loud condemnation of President Barack Obama’s un-American treatment of news organizations in his quest to nab whistleblowers and critics of his government.
Let’s not let the turning of the calendar allow us to forget that Obama’s Department of Justice secretly subpoenaed two months of phone records from the Associated Press.
It was stunning when it happened last spring. It’s an outrage today. We must not be “Sheeple” about it. Everyone ought still to be mad as hell about it. Nothing has changed that gets this president off the hook for this unwise overreach.
We can’t allow ourselves to become desensitized to this kind bully behavior. We can’t do an “oh well, it’s just the AP and the AP can take care of itself” because if government is willing to do this to the AP, or Fox News, the Washington Post, or the New York Times, it will do this to you. Count on it. And, there will be no AP, Fox News, the Washington Post, or the New York Times to report it.
AP’s CEO Gary Pruitt rightly said this about what the government’s confiscation of newsroom records means: “If you talk to the press, we’re going to go after you. Officials who would normally talk to us, and people we would talk to in the normal course of news gathering, are already saying to us that they’re a little reluctant to talk to us; they fear that they will be monitored by the government.”
And the Obama government is just the kind of “say one thing, do another” government to silence its critics by these kinds of means. The IRS targeting, NSA handling of phone records, spying on foreign heads of state and possibly members of Congress all come to mind. Yet, when it comes to owning up to bad behavior, the Obama government hides its sins behind “national security” and the Fifth Amendment.
Obama himself too often shrugs his shoulders and says he didn’t know a thing about it. That lame excuse is getting pretty damn long in the tooth.
I hope reporters at the AP — and all reporters — are now taking precautions to store the names of confidential sources off site. Company computers can no longer be considered secure with the Obama government on the prowl. If Obama will take phone records from one of the best news organizations in the world, he’ll do it to any newspaper or website, no matter how small. And he’ll confiscate work product, too.
There are a lot of problems on the president’s plate as he enters his sixth year in office, but his attempted intimidation of AP — and by extension all news organizations — is an unforced error that indicates he’s blind to one of the great idea of America — a free and unfettered press.
This kind of tactic should not happen in America. And, the American people ought to tell President Obama that his treatment of the AP crosses the line in a free society.
Do not forget what the government did to the AP … because one day that same government may come for you.