Last week was rather interesting. Not just because of the various breaking scandals, either.
But more because the media at large covered Scandalpalooza. It was not just Fox News Channel or various (and smaller) conservative outlets. It was the mainstream media at large (aka MSM).
Of course, this sudden interest in the shady actions and coverups likely has little to do with the media suddenly realizing how badly it has neglected its duty as the adversaries to power. Rather, it has much to do with the AP scandal. Once the other outlets realized that the largest news organization in America had its records seized unilaterally by the government, the scandals of this administration became personal for them.
Suddenly, the administration was no longer an MSM friend; the White House treated them like adversaries despite all the friendly press they had given it.
Of course, some on the left are complaining about criticism over the administration’s handling of the AP’s records. They say it is much ado about nothing, that what the administration did was perfectly legal. Amazingly (and perhaps disturbingly), this is true.
However, what is legal is not necessarily always ethical.
And that is where the AP story goes from routine to potentially scandalous. Legality is irrelevant in the face of the government taking the phone records of the AP in the shadows. Normally, this sort of action would be done in the open, where the press organization in question would be able to challenge and/or negotiate for the records. This time, however, claiming “national security” reasons, the government took the records unilaterally.
And now we have learned that the government pursued the personal emails and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen (among others) for much flimsier reasons.
Some expressed concern that the scandals, after getting a week of play in the media, would slowly fade from the headlines as the press fell back into its old Obama-covering habits. However, with yet another attack on free press, there is an emerging pattern of abuse of power and suppression of the press
Even the media water carriers for Barack Obama understand this could very easily become them. They may not like FNC, but when the Department of Justice declares journalists “criminal co-conspirators” simply as an excuse to seize their private information, this steps over a line. Scandalpalooza is now up close and personal with the MSM.
It is an understatement to say that this is chilling.
It is disturbing. Frightening. Alarming.
One of the keys to the continued success of our republic is a free press. It was a free press that, in many ways, allowed the country to become what it is, from inflaming the War for Independance to keeping the government in check for the better part of two centuries.
What happens when the government uses its power and reach to intimidate journalists and their sources?