Americans are often under the impression that Obama has a strong alliance with the mainstream news media.
If you’re one of them – you couldn’t be more wrong.
The Obama administration has ways to actually control the press. And when that’s not possible, the administration creates its own alternate press to influence Americans.
Indeed, a special report issued in October 2013 by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shed light on Obama’s nasty habit of ignoring the First Amendment…
“Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise,” the report says. “The White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press.”
And that’s not even the biggest grievance reporters have against this administration…
Ruthlessness Leads to Silence
Thanks to “aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance,” the CPJ says that government sources avoid speaking to journalists.
In other words, Obama’s team has been so thorough – and so ruthless – when prosecuting information “leakers,” that sources of information in D.C. have dried up.
The problem here is obvious…
Reporters need sources to do their jobs!
Yet today, sources that were once plentiful in past years are now running scared.
Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the liberal-leaning New York Times (NYT) – a publication most Americans believe is closely aligned with Obama – says it best.
She recently told NPR host John Hockenberry that “the Obama years are a benchmark for a new level of secrecy and control. It’s created quite a challenging atmosphere for The New York Times, and for some of the best reporters in my newsroom who cover national security issues in Washington.”
So what does Abramson have to say about how those who leak information are being prosecuted?
“There have been seven of them, and one of them right now threatens my colleague James Risen who has been subpoenaed in one of these cases,” says Abramson. “Collectively, they have really put a chill on reporting about national security issues in Washington.”
Of course, this matter reaches far beyond the press.
A Warning to All Americans
After all, for a democracy to work, citizens need to be well informed. And for citizens to be well informed, the news media has to be a watchdog on government.
In addition to the daily news, we rely on the media to report on corruption.
Oftentimes, these abuses are only exposed when whistleblowers step forward and leak information about the government to reporters. It’s not like a government press release would ever provide this type of information.
As you know, the most famous leaker in the last year has been NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
While he went too far and exposed information vital to the United States’ ability to collect intelligence on terrorists, his courage to reveal the U.S. government’s obsession with spying on honest citizens is laudable.
And ultimately, our criminal pursuit of Snowden caused the United States to slump to 46th in the annual World Press Freedom Index for 2014.
We now rank as less free than South Africa and Romania.
This should serve as a warning to all Americans.
Consume your news carefully. With reporters under attack and the Obama administration literally creating alternate news, you have to carefully judge every bit of information you come across.
Otherwise, you could easily be digesting good old-fashioned propaganda.
This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr)
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom