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AP: Obama Brings Chilling Effect On Journalism

From the Associated Press:

Report: Obama brings chilling effect on journalism

By BRETT ZONGKER | October 10, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers, according to a report released Thursday on U.S. press freedoms under the Obama administration.

We are really beginning to believe the AP’s servers have been hacked. Of course, they are just reporting on a study. But the AP never reports on a study unless they want the public to believe it. And they know the great unwashed see their headlines as gospel.

The Committee to Protect Journalists conducted its first examination of U.S. press freedoms amid the Obama administration’s unprecedented number of prosecutions of government sources and seizures of journalists’ records. Usually the group focuses on advocating for press freedoms abroad.

Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Washington Post, wrote the 30-page analysis entitled "The Obama Administration and the Press." The report notes President Barack Obama came into office pledging an open, transparent government after criticizing the Bush administration’s secrecy, "but he has fallen short of his promise."

And when he was at the Washington Post, Mr. Downie was one of Obama’s most dependable acolytes.

"In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press," wrote Downie, now a journalism professor at Arizona State University. "The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate."

He used the ‘W-Word’! (Watergate.)

Downie interviewed numerous reporters and editors, including a top editor at The Associated Press, following revelations this year that the government secretly seized records for telephone lines and switchboards used by more than 100 AP journalists. Downie also interviewed journalists whose sources have been prosecuted on felony charges…

"There’s no question that sources are looking over their shoulders," Michael Oreskes, the AP’s senior managing editor, told Downie. "Sources are more jittery and more standoffish, not just in national security reporting. A lot of skittishness is at the more routine level. The Obama administration has been extremely controlling and extremely resistant to journalistic intervention."

To bypass journalists, the White House developed its own network of websites, social media and even created an online newscast to dispense favorable information and images. In some cases, the White House produces videos of the president’s meetings with major figures that were never listed on his public schedule. Instead, they were kept secret — a departure from past administrations, the report noted.

Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief who is now director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, told Downie the combined efforts of the Obama administration are "squeezing the flow of information."

"Open dialogue with the public without filters is good, but if used for propaganda and to avoid contact with journalists, it’s a slippery slope," Sesno said…

He used the ‘P Word’!

Shortly after Obama entered office, the White House was under pressure from intelligence agencies and Congress to stop leaks of national security information…

So it’s not really Obama’s fault.

To date, six government employees and two contractors have been targeted for prosecution under the 1917 Espionage Act for accusations that they leaked classified information to the press. There were just three such prosecutions under all previous U.S. presidents…

Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor, said the report highlights the growing threats to independent journalism in a country that has upheld press freedom as a measure of democratic society for two centuries.

"We find we must fight for those freedoms every day as the fog of secrecy descends on every level of government activity," she said in a statement. "That fight is worthwhile, as we learned when the outcry over the Justice Department’s secret seizure of AP phone records led to proposed revisions intended to protect journalists from overly broad investigative techniques. Implementation of those revisions is an important next step." …

But don’t worry. The AP will be back in bed with Obama soon enough. This is just a lovers’ tiff from Obama siccing the DOJ on them. It’s like a wife getting mad after finding out her husband have been checking up on her.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, October 11th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “AP: Obama Brings Chilling Effect On Journalism”

  1. AP outsourced their server farm to China. Make of it what you will ..




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