Russian’s, as they say, have ways of dealing with members of the Press who get a little too curious for their own good.
According to The Guardian, 40 (possibly more) journalists, editors, and reporters have been murdered in Russia since Putin came to power in 2000, but here in the United States that would never be something we would have to fear. Right?
The power of the Fourth Estate is not in question. Freedom of the Press is well established. The government cannot force them to write what they want them to write, we do not have a state run media…despite what it might seem from the slavishly sycophantic way they have treated the current administration since the it’s beginning.
After all, wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said: “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.”
Without a free press we lose the ability to criticize those in power or take a story from a whistle blower or information leak (Watergate anyone?) and change the course of history. Journalists expose the truth (or they should) and they get their information from any number of sources, many times those sources are “off the record” for a very good reason. They are risking their jobs and breaking the rules to hand over information.
Yes, what these informants are doing is against the law in some cases and if they are caught they will be prosecuted, but Journalists who accept that information should not be held accountable or considered a “co-conspirator”/jailed/harassed/followed/listened in on by our own government, or the whole concept of a “free press” becomes a lie.
But that’s exactly what the government has been doing.
Starting with the revelation that the government had been going through the phone records of Associated Press reporters.
Now we’re finding out that they weren’t the only one the government was looking into.
James Rosen, a reporter for Fox News, had his phone records and emails looked into by the government and his visits and phone calls to the State Deparmtnet were tracked.
When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.
They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.
Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.
“Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public,” said First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin, who has represented the Associated Press, but not in the current case. “That’s a very dangerous road to go down.”
– Washington Post
According to Megyn Kelly, Rosen was only one of 3 Fox employees that have been targeted by the DOJ over the past few years and who knows how many others. If Obama’s DOJ will do this to the AP, you know they have no qualms about harassing Fox.
Even liberals like Kieth Olbermann, and others, can see the writing on the wall with this situation.
My experience dealing with @jamesrosenfnc was unpleasant and contentious. And I fully support him against this unwarranted act by DOJ
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) May 20, 2013
If they can investigate you (and potentially charge you with a crime) for doing your job, we might as well be living in Putin’s Russia.