NYT reporter: Obama administration ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom

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New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those who refuse to play along “will be punished.”

Poynter reports that Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism , communication and government professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America.

In a speech kicking off the conference, Risen claimed that the Obama administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting” and “create a path for accepted reporting.” Those who stray from that path, he cautioned, “will be punished.”

The result is a “de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen explained, making the current White House “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” And the media has been “too timid” in pushing back against the onslaught.

Some of that timidity was on display at the conference. Jeffrey Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker, denied that any constitutional protections for his profession even existed. “It won’t take me long to alienate everyone in the room,” he declared. “For better or worse, it has been clear there is no journalistic privilege under the First Amendment.”

Robert Litt, the administration’s top lawyer for the national intelligence community, agreed with that statement. At the same conference, he likened reporting on national security leaks to drunk driving, arguing that we ban the practice despite the fact that there isn’t always a victim.

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“Not every drunk driver causes a fatal accident,” he explained, “but we ban drunk driving because it increases the risk of accidents. In the same way, we classify information because of the risk of harm, even if no harm actually can be shown in the end from any particular disclosure.”

[h/t Poytner]

Posted in Freedoms, Tyranny and tagged , , , , , .

2 Comments

  1. How about Michelle Obama denying the press access to her current trip in China? She has been telling the Chinese that freedom of the press should be a universal right, yet she has barred the press from reporting on her extravagant trip.

  2. Well… So how about the medias´ silence about such horrifying media coverage of CRIMES, based on totally false, or twisted information (not being current news), such as: the total destrution of the Libyan public services infrastructure, including the only two water piping manufacturing industries; the real number of civillian victims, and the destruction of hospitals, schools… etc,. Also, no organization, NOR MEDIA has ever mentioned one of the greatest crimes committed during OBAMA´S “HUMANITARIAN WAR”, including the GENOCIDE OF 40.000 Black Tawergha Tribe (Including their towns razed) mainly due to a report for the UN by Amnesty International, falsely accusing the tribesmen, historically LIBYAN CITIZEN of being “MERCENARIES HIRED BY MUAMMAR GADDAFI” Also, no reports abut the AlQuaeda and Islamist Brotherhood activist, forcefully imposed on the Libyan people. Where are the newsmen and the Humanitarian Organizations?

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