While President Barack Obama continues to assure the public that he is protecting privacy and the press, his Administration continues to do precisely the opposite in court with comprehensive attacks on civil liberties. A good example is the continued abuse of two-time Pulitzer prize winner and New York Times investigative reporter and author James Risen. Risen continues to be threatened by the Justice Department with arrest because he is protecting the identity of his sources. Risen spoke this weekend and observed simply that “Obama hates the press.”
Risen spoke at a journalism conference at Colby College in Waterville where he was awarded the annual Elijah Parish Lovejoy award for journalism. The Obama Administration has continued a scorched Earth campaign against reporters and whistleblowers. Risen was targeted after he wrote about a failed CIA operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Democrats who decried such actions under Bush have largely remained silent in the face of a far worse record under Obama.
Risen dismissed the army of apologists who deflect criticism of Obama in his campaign against the press: “I don’t think any of this would be happening under the Obama administration if Obama didn’t want to do it. I think Obama hates the press. I think he doesn’t like the press and he hates leaks.”
He also criticized Holder as someone selected due to his loyalty and ability to protect Obama from direct criticism, an issue that I discussed recently in a column.
Risen reflects a growing view among many reporters (that parallels a similar view among civil libertarians) of Obama. Indeed, I just had dinner with two leading reporters who have been staunch supporters of Obama but now view him in similar terms. Much like Nixon, Obama and his subordinates seem to blame the media for scandals as well as whistleblowers. They treat the problem as not the abuses of power or failed programs but the disclosure of such failings. It is more than just a Nixonian “shoot the messenger” approach. They want to kill the message itself.
Source: Central Maine