Media Matters, as a slew of scandals hit the Barack Obama Administration, revealed how much it is willing to side with the government by releasing a series of talking points for Americans interested in defending Federal officials involved in the Associated Press hacking scandal.
Without further ado, here are some suggested points for our more liberal readers to use in the Personal Liberty comment section, courtesy of the leftist organization:
KEY ISSUES TO RAISE
- If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.
- It was not acceptable when the Bush Administration exposed Valerie Plame working undercover to stop terrorists from attacking us. It is not acceptable when anonymous sources do it either.
- Is this story about a government source blowing the whistle on government misbehavior, or about a source gratuitously exposing ongoing counter-terrorism operations?
- Did Republicans in Congress who are now exploiting the situation to score political points oppose the media shield law that likely would have protected the Associated Press in this situation?
- How should the Justice Department strike the balance between respecting our free press and investigating damaging leaks that jeopardize counter-terrorism operations?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For background on an informational firewall between the White House and the Department of Justice with respect to pending investigations, see this 2007 statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
Click here for background on the status of the proposed Free Flow of Information Act, or a federal shield law for journalists. Also see “Republicans In Congress Killed A Media Shield Law That Would Have Protected The Associated Press.”
For a flashback to the Valerie Plame affair, which involved the Bush Administration revealing classified information about Valerie Plame’s CIA employment with the media and led to the exposure and endangerment of her overseas sources, click here for a rundown of the key players and here for a timeline.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act is designed to protect federal workers reporting government wrongdoing. For more information on this legislation, which was signed into law last fall, click here. (Note the distinction between exposing classified information in violation of federal law and reporting government wrongdoing and corruption.)
Even the most liberal news organizations have called Media Matters out for its Goebbels-esque actions, like in this story from Huffington Post:
Media Matters seems to think that the facts of the matter are somehow in flux, and the larger issue is hazy enough to accommodate an allowance of the DoJ’s actions. They are wrong on both counts, and their talking points are a hot mess, as a result.
Media Matters has since issued a tail-tucking statement:
Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation. That document was issued by “Message Matters,” a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.
As a media watchdog organization, Media Matters for America recognizes that a free press is necessary for quality journalism and essential to our democracy. A healthy news media is what we fight for every day. Yesterday, 52 news organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice expressing concerns that the DOJ’s broad subpoena of Associated Press reporters’ phone records runs counter to First Amendment principles and injures the practice of journalism. We stand with those news organizations and share their concerns.