“This is the most transparent administration in history, and I can document how that is the case — everything from every visitor who comes into the White House is now part of the public record. That is something we changed. Every law that we pass, every rule that we implement we put online for everyone to see.
…I am not somebody who believes that the President has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants whenever they want just under the guise of counterterrorism.” — President Barack Obama on Feb. 14
The Associated Press wiretapping scandal and resultant revelations of Federal spying on American journalists has revealed the true contempt and fear that the Administration of Barack Obama — an Administration that has prosecuted twice as many Americans under the 1917 Espionage Act than all other Administrations combined — has for a well-informed populace.
The people attacked by the Obama Administration through the Espionage Act are not, as one might expect, double agents caught in the act of leaking state secrets to America’s most dangerous geopolitical foes. More often than not, they are viewed as patriots in the eyes of the greater American public, exposing Federal wrongdoing and acting in the best interest of the American people.
Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being prosecuted under the act for leaking to the media information that revealed vast military abuses overseas, has been largely ignored by mainstream media. Yesterday, with little fanfare as media outlets throughout the Nation covered revelations of the government’s attempts to skewer their own, Manning had his last scheduled hearing before his military trial begins next month. He faces 20 years to life.
Manning has already pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, acknowledging that his position as a U.S. service member at the time of the information dump puts him at a severe disadvantage in using a 1st Amendment defense. But it remains remarkable — and likely a point of great regret for many in the news industry as revelations of the government’s ongoing attacks on journalists continue to surface — that Manning hasn’t been more vigorously defended by members of America’s media. It seems that many newsmen simply had not been able to bring themselves to admit in the public forum — perhaps because it is almost unfathomable — that a Nobel Peace Prize-holding, “most transparent” President who ran on an anti-war platform wouldn’t publicly decry prosecution of a soldier who revealed the folly of America’s Mideast foreign policy.
In particular, a video Manning leaked portraying American soldiers mowing down innocent civilians, including children and journalists on a Baghdad street with bloody revelry — if properly acknowledged by the sort of President Obama fancies himself to be — would have meant immediate changes in American foreign policy.
But Obama’s silence is his guilt: He knew from the start that there was no intention in seeking a new direction for American foreign policy in the Mideast. And Manning, for highlighting the fact, must be punished.
What should have been more eye-opening for America’s journalists is how the Obama Justice Department has piggybacked on Manning’s military charge to go after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for “soliciting” and publishing the classified information.
In America it is not a crime to publish classified information. But mainstream media gleefully followed the Administration’s “official story,” often portraying Assange in a light that would be a point of pride for even the most sinister Bond villain.
From a story about Assange published in January 2011 by McClatchy:
…[M]uch of the U.S. journalistic community has shunned Assange — even as reporters write scores, if not hundreds, of stories based on WikiLeaks’ trove of leaked State Department cables.
Some call him a traitor, responsible for what’s arguably one of the biggest U.S. national security breaches ever. Others say a man who calls for government transparency has been too opaque about how he obtained the documents.
The freedom of the press committee of the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City declared him “not one of us.” The Associated Press, which once filed legal briefs on Assange’s behalf, refuses to comment about him. And the National Press Club in Washington, the venue less than a year ago for an Assange news conference, has decided not to speak out about the possibility that he’ll be charged with a crime.
Obama and his acolytes were given a pass by the press early on; in return, journalists nearest the White House were given a press-release Presidency to cover. When it became the standard narrative of Federal officials that Assange, Manning and other leakers who have dared point out Obama’s failures were not examples of how the 1st Amendment was intended to be exercised with regard to press freedom, mass media rolled over.
It was essentially mainstream media indifference to the government’s abuse of individuals who were doing the job of investigative reporters, without the benefit of the title, that gave the Obama-led government the ability to make investigative journalism a crime. Once-indifferent journalists are beginning to wake up with the AP revelations and reports that journalists throughout the Nation have been singled out by the DOJ. And as they realize that their colleagues are being afforded the same treatment as people like Manning — whom they made to look so very sinister — simply for doing their jobs, there is little hope left that mainstream media hasn’t allowed Obama to forever change how America’s press functions.