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‘…and I did Not Speak Out, but Then They Came for… the AP’


(‘Journalism’ by Anthony Freda via wendydavis

It’s rare that I post about an issue based on one article or op-ed, but the information and links contained in this May 15 piece of Glenn Greenwald’s deserves as much attention as it can receive right now:  The major sea change in media discussions of Obama and civil liberties’

We’ll need to file the primary story under: blatant hypocrisy (yet better late than never?)

Oy; such a bad week for Obomba given the breaking news about the IRS and the DOJ/AP phone records snatch…the pundits are already offering portentous names for it…  (meh)

Glenn quotes the Washington Post’s newfound realizations about the President and his administration’s worse-than-Nixon’s (Jonathan Turley) Unconstitutional and Imperial presidency’s proclivities:

“President Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer who came to office pledging renewed respect for civil liberties, is today running an administration at odds with his résumé and preelection promises.

“The Justice Department’s collection of journalists’ phone records and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups have challenged Obama’s credibility as a champion of civil liberties – and as a president who would heal the country from damage done by his predecessor.”

Jay Carney’s quotes at the WaPo piece are a goddam hoot, considering what his boss has done to subvert the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and shredding of our civil liberties via his massive and secret security state apparatus. 

Glenn lists a number of news outlets that have just gotten some sizzling religion, hoo-boy, on Obomba’s perfidies and prosecutions of whistleblowers are rapidly becoming de rigueur to report; now, isn’t that special?

Greenwald (my bolds):

As a result of the last week, there is an undeniable and quite substantial sea change in how the establishment media is thinking and speaking about Obama. The ultimate purveyors of Beltway media conventional wisdom (CW), Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei, published an article yesterday headlined “DC turns on Obama”, writing that “the town is turning on President Obama – and this is very bad news for this White House” and “reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.” The Washington Post’s political reporter, Dan Balz, another CW bellwether, wrote that these controversies “reflect questions about the administration that predate the revelations of the past few days“. About the AP story, Balz wrote that “no one can recall anything as far-reaching as what the Justice Department apparently did in secretly gathering information about the work of AP journalists.”

HaHaHa!  Day late, and about four years too late, folks.  Where were you when we needed you and an oppositional press, investigating stories and shining a light on them in the hope that the electorate might wake up to at least some of the truth?  Yes, if this sea change of reporting continues, it will help in the future, but will the media owners let it get too far?

Holy smokey Joe, we now have mainstream news outlets objecting to this administration’s opacity and war on whistleblowers and vast curtailment of our civil liberties, now that one of their own has been victimized (no matter that AP has been a long-time purveyor of corporate news and Empire…

Greenwald’s just loving the hell out of  the putative Lefty media, too (though why he refers to them as ‘progressive’ is beyond me), and the fact that Obomba loyalists like Maddow, Alter and others are covering both stories, and are at least angry.  But he’s so right about it being morally reprehensible that they hadn’t been railing against his targeting and annihilating the civil rights of his other victims: Muslims, Bradley Manning, OWS participants, Wikileakers per se, those still imprisoned at Gitmo…and the list could go on.

It shouldn’t take an attack on the mainstream press to fuel this indignation; the time to have done it was when others were receiving the same, and indeed far worse treatment.  And yes, there have been exceptions.  Glenn notes that almost no one is defending the DOJ’s actions, save…a few.  And this is where it gets even more grotesque.

As I noted yesterday, TPM’s Josh Marshall – who fancies himself an edgy insurgent against mainstream media complacency as he spends day after day defending the US government’s most powerful officials – printed an anonymous email accusing AP of engineering a “smear of Justice”. Worse, Media Matters this morning posted “talking points” designed to defend the DOJ in the AP matter that easily could have come directly from the White House and which sounded like Alberto Gonzales, arguing that “if the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated” and that “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.” [snip]

Meanwhile, the only outright, spirited, unqualified defense of the DOJ’s conduct toward AP that I’ve seen comes from a Media Matters employee and liberal” blogger.

In his recollection, most of the most scathing criticisms of Manning, Assange, and Wikileaks came from ‘progressives’.  He links to a piece by Charles Davis who was guest-blogging while Greenwald was away.  Do read it again if you can make the time, and I’d suggest that you may also find Davis’s stunning piece Drone Court Advantagesome of the best satire in recent history (hint: read it all the way to the end).

 A  tip of the hat to the good fatster who discovered that Obomba’s ‘accepting the resignation’ of IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller was just because a scapegoat had to found to tamp down the scandal; turns out he wasn’t even at the IRS when all that was going down.  Ah, well; Washington at work…

You can read Kevin Gosztola’s ‘Attorney General Eric Holder’s Contemptible Defense of the DoJ’s Seizure of AP Phone Recordshere.  He gives a brief explanation of the DOJ’s claims as to why the AP story on the 2012 Underwear bomber sting was deemed ‘a security issue’, as well.

[Updated]:  Jason Hirthler is up with ‘Under Normal Circumstances: The Justice Department v. the Fourth Estate’.  Arrrgh; he nails it, as well.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.

 ~ Martin Niemöller

Speak out!

(cross-posted at

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