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The Current Administration's Attacks on Liberty: Freedom of The Press

Prometheus · politics · opinion · 10/10/2020 · edited

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When in the course of a presidential election, it's necessary to consider the actions of the incumbent administration when considering what direction this nation ought to pursue. There are many important aspects of policy and presidency to consider, and, personally, among these is liberty, and how the administration has either protected or attacked it. While a discussion on the former is due, a long train of the latter is our subject matter this piece: particularly his handling of the press.
Freedom of the Press
The president’s attack on the press is one of the worst in modern history, both in rhetoric and in action. The White House communications director said that they’ll treat a specific major media company who reports on him negatively “the way we would treat an opponent”1 and, after questioned why the president did not appear on this network to discuss an important policy when he appeared on others said "we’re not going to legitimize them as a news organization.”2
His rhetoric regarding some news organizations are schoolyard taunts compared to his unprecedented legal attacks on journalists, which spits in the face of his own claim that his is "the most transparent administration in history."10
His administration prosecuted more people with the 1917 Espionage Act than all other administrations before him combined3. Additionally, the administration prosecuted triple the amount of cases targeting leakers and whistleblowers than all previous presidential administrations put together4.
In that effort, his DOJ "dug into confidential communications between news organizations and their sources."3. Because of his attempts to gather information regarding a foreign nations nuclear arsenal, a U.S. reporter was labeled a "co-conspirator" and had his telephone and email records searched.
Also, as part of its investigation into a leak, the administration accessed the phone records of almost 100 AP reporters4.
These are just some of the general injuries and specific usurpations the president has committed against his people.
These actions have been condemned by journalists nationwide.
"<span style="font-weight: lighter;">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," - Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post6.

"[The administration is] the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," - James Risen, former NY Times reporter7.
"The ... administration has been the least transparent and the most antagonistic toward the media since the Nixon administration," The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board8.
“This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” David Sanger, NY Times national security correspondent9.
Again, this is an abbreviated list.
This piece's intent is not to tell you how to vote or even how to view this administration in a general sense; the good may outweigh this bad or the atrocious may make this insignificant.
However, keep this in mind: if these grievances are not aired, future administrations of the same ilk will be compelled to act in an identical way, prohibiting the airing of these grievances for evermore.

As I write this in 2016, I hope the next administration does a better job.


1: https://tinyurl.com/y6lcr8nx

2: https://www.factcheck.org/2018/09/obama-fox-news-and-the-free-press/

3: https://apnews.com/ffc60235c26c470c9047e0da6ff19f95/AP-FACT-CHECK:-Obama-doesn%2527t-always-tell-the-straight-story

4: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/editorials/sd-obama-trump-media-leakers-20180910-story.html

5: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/us/phone-records-of-journalists-of-the-associated-press-seized-by-us.html

6: https://cpj.org/reports/2013/10/obama-and-the-press-us-leaks-surveillance-post-911/

7: https://tinyurl.com/y3vfpflq

8: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/editorials/sd-president-obama-legacy-20170118-story.html

9: https://www.cjr.org/criticism/barack_obamas_press_freedom_legacy.php

10: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/283335-obama-this-is-the-most-transparent-administration-in-history

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