Milbank: “Government Makes Criminals Of Reporters”

by William Teach | May 22, 2013 9:10 am

It’s nice to see reporters and professional opinion writers employed by media outlets finally understanding the lawlessness of this administration. It’s a shame that it took a flagrant abuse of the 1st Amendment to some of their own, “which[1] it seems is the only way these days to get the jaded, Obama loving media off their f***ing arses and back to doing actual reporting”. Here’s the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank[2]

There are various reasons you might not care about the Obama administration’s spying on journalist James Rosen and labeling him a “co-conspirator and/or aider and abettor” in an espionage case.

Liberals may not be particularly bothered because the targeted journalist works for Fox News. Conservatives may not be concerned because of their antipathy toward the news media generally. And the general public certainly doesn’t have much patience for journalists’ whining.

On one point, Milbank shouldn’t conflate Conservative antipathy towards the news media as not caring: yes, we find them to be highly partisan and biased towards the Democrat/Liberal/Progressive side, but, first, those of us who blog or read blogs depend on them for material (just not always in the way they expect), and, more importantly, we want them to act as the watchdogs of the Government, as the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, along with discussion papers pre-Constitution/BORs, wanted them to be, and not just when Republicans are in charge. The American people depend upon the Press to do their jobs and expose wrong-doing. Anyhow

But here’s why you should care – and why this case, along with the administration’s broad snooping into Associated Press phone records, is more serious than the other supposed Obama administration scandals regarding Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service. The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.

To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job – seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public – deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based. Guns? Privacy? Due process? Equal protection? If you can’t speak out, you can’t defend those rights, either.

And Mr. Milbank has a good point: if the DOJ is going to go after The Press in these manners, a Press which is given an extra exemption in the 1st Amendment, what about coming after you? The DOJ even went after the phone records of James Rosen’s parents[3]. This should be chilling for all, whether you are left, middle, or right politically. As Milbank writes

If the administration is spying on reporters and accusing them of criminality just for asking questions – well, who knows what else this crowd is capable of doing?

That’s what we’ve been saying for a long time. Perhaps The Press will now decide to go full bore on investigation and asking questions, instead of just a few, like Sharyl Atckinson and Jake Tapper, instead of acting as White House employees.

  1. which:
  2. Washington Post’s Dana Milbank:
  3. phone records of James Rosen’s parents:

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