In 2007, now White House press propagandist Jay Carney said that president Bush held open contempt for the press and that ultimately backfired on him. Contempt is one thing, but this current administration is now in the practice of criminalizing the press for doing its job. I wonder if Jay Carney believes that will backfire?
The administration's targeting of Fox News' Chief Washington correspondent James Rosen is chilling, to say the list. Beyond the fact that the Department of Justice pulled phone records, private emails and tracked his movements, the frightening fact is that this administration has labeled him as a “co-conspirator” for simply doing his job: Reporting. This is unheard of and down-right chilling.
For a while now I've said that journalism is all-but dead, but that was because of what I perceived as the media's infatuation with Obama. They didn't seem interested in really digging in, asking the tough questions, but instead they formed a protective barrier around the president. Now it seems as though the administration itself could play a hand in the death of the media, threatening criminal charges against members of the media for doing what they are there to do. This is a constitutionally protected right that is suddenly under assault by an administration so desperate to maintain power. What is a large part of maintaining power? Controlling the message. Perhaps we are seeing the worst scenario unfold on that front.
We've since obtained the court document related to James Rosen's case, and it seems as though the invasive reach of the DOJ's probe has expanded. For example, phone records related to Rosen's parents’ home in Staten Island were also seized. Beyond James Rosen, the document filed October 13, 2011 shows that the Department of Justice seized the phone records of several hard lines and cell phone records within Fox News. Those lines include Fox News' work space at the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. It's also possible that phone records were seized of Fox News executives.
The White House's response? We can't comment.
Meanwhile, the possible political motivations of the US attorney prosecuting the case, Ronald C. Machen, Jr., has come into question after it was revealed that Machen is a big-time donor to none other than Barack Obama. Larry O'Connor at Breitbart points out that the Washington Post wrote a profile on Manchen in 2009 where the nature of his donations to Obama were revealed. O'Connor also points out that Manchen's impartiality was called into question as recently as June 2012 as to whether he could fairly conduct a leak investigation, considering his donations to the Obama campaign and also the fact that Manchen was a volunteer for Obama for America.
Juan Williams and Dana Milbank are just two of the many liberal journalists who have come forward in outrage over what Juan describes as “criminalizing journalism.” This spans beyond partisanship and is a direct affront to our civil liberties. There is a reason why protections from “infringing on the freedom of the press” is written into the very first Amendment to the Constitution. It is a fundamental cog in the wheel that is necessary for a functioning free society.