The press-punishing, speech-chilling, and unabashedly overreaching actions by the Obama administration against the Associated Press and Fox News Channel’s James Rosen lay bare the essential dynamic between any president and a press that is always more prone to being lapdogs than watchdogs: the president feeds or punishes them as he sees fit, while chanting a bogus rosary about “national security.” Continue reading
Unconstitutional. Sweeping. Secretive. Abusive. Harassing.
Gary Pruitt, the president and CEO of the Associated Press, used those words on CBS’s Face the Nation to describe the Justice Department’s seizure of two months of AP reporters’ phone records in New York, Washington, and Hartford, Conn. As Attorney General Eric Holder said in an entirely different context, that’s not hyperbole.
Original reports on the subpoena indicated it called for the capture of phone logs of reporters’ office phones, cell phones, and home phones. The subpoena did not allow the Justice Department to obtain the contents of the phone calls, merely the logged numbers. That’s cold comfort to any reporter who knows that phone numbers are a source’s fingerprints and access to them can give the government an evidentiary trail to a suspected leaker. Continue reading