Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If the press wants special protections, they need to come to the table too

I get what all the howls are about in the press on the "chilling" effects of being investigated. The first amendment that guarantees a press free from government interference is a bedrock principle for any democracy. So I agree that there is an issue here that needs to be resolved.

But its not enough for them to simply point the finger at the Obama administration as the party that is in the wrong here. For example Eugene Robinson's article today sounds like it was written in some reality that no longer exists (and perhaps never did).
Obviously, the government has a duty to protect genuine secrets. But the problem is that every administration, without exception, tends to misuse the “top secret” stamp — sometimes from an overabundance of caution, sometimes to keep inconvenient or embarrassing information from coming to light.

That’s where journalists come in. Our job, simply, is to find out what the government doesn’t want you to know.
That kind of thinking doesn't take into account the fact that the press also includes people like Jonathan Karl - who blatantly lie to the American public based on information that is planted by political opponents for the express purpose of undermining an administration.

It also doesn't take into account the fact that Republicans have demonstrated - through their "leaks" to the press - that they are willing to use the media (who are willing to be played) to lie us into a war and put national security at risk in order to undermine their critics. Its clear to most of us outside the media that it is a continuation of those kinds of abuses that are being investigated here.

Robinson ends his article with the same old canard many of us have been talking about lately.
The president needs to understand that behavior commonly known as “whistleblowing” and “journalism” must not be construed as espionage.
What I want to say to him is that when you are willing to drop this idea that what is being investigated is "whistleblowing," and recognize that there are real issues to be grappled with ON BOTH SIDES of this government/press tension, I'm one who's ready to come to the table and talk about solutions. Until then, you're missing the point.


  1. "Obviously, the government has a duty to protect genuine secrets"

    Robinson should have stopped right there.

    "Our job, simply, is to find out what the government doesn’t want you to know."

    Then report it even if it means leaking information that might tip off the people we are trying to catch?

    And no that's not your job. Your job is to report actual facts. You know. Things like there are no actual weapons of mass destruction and outing one of our own agents is a bad thing.

    Robinson and his cohorts cannot have it both ways. You can't be a stenographer for anything Republicans tell you then suddenly turned into champion crusader when dealing with Democrats but more specifically a Black President.

  2. The problem is that the press will be gunning for Obama now more than ever. They've become so inept at gathering facts and doing actual journalism that they can't discern the difference between whistleblowers and leakers. Rather than look inward at their own shortcomings, they blame everything on the President instead.

  3. I still think tapping all those phones,emails, and whatnot was an overreach but there is definitely a mole in the Obama administration.

    Darrell Issa called the Benghazi witnesses "whistleblowers" but they were just diplomats giving their opinion. They did not reveal anything new and it was their views against the military as to what could have been done.

    I still remember the WaPo and NYT teaming up with the Bush administration to publish reasons to invade Iraq.

  4. It would help if the people arguing so loudly for freedom of the press would be, you know, factually correct, in describing how it's being treated.