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Comments about ‘Obama's bad example may force Congress to protect reporters’

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Published: Thursday, June 12 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

Too bad the Constitution doesn't already protect them... Oh, wait a minute! It does!

Uh oh, silly me, I forgot that the Constitution doesn't apply to Obama.

ECR
Burke, VA

Jay - your points are all well taken. There is nothing more precious or more necessary to a free nation than freedom of the press. And once a reporter has reported information that is true and accurate, well, the deed is done. But I am curious about one point that you made:

"He (President Obama) also has said the Obama administration "has brought more prosecutions against current or former government officials for providing classified information to the media than every previous administration combined."

Many people in the government are given security clearances, of many different levels, for the specific reason of keeping information confidential, secret if you will, often for national security reasons. Certainly many have used that concept as a means to hide corrupt activities but there still exists a need to keep certain information secret. Are you suggesting that those given a security clearance should not be held accountable when they violate the terms of that clearance? Is that an honorable thing to do?

Let's face it Jay. It's a game that is played everyday with reporters and those who they report about. Sometimes the reporter wins and sometimes the reporter loses. The game goes on.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Amazing, just amazing. Here we have liberals, Obama and Holder, attempting to suppress one of the pillars of our freedom. The Press. It used to be that the liberal side of the political arena were the ones all about 1st Amendment protections, and the conservative side seen as the threat. Wow, how things have turned 180 degrees. Thank goodness for the Republican House to step in and protect the press. And I more and more understand why I fear the tyranny of the Left in America much more than any tyranny coming from the Right.

FT
salt lake city, UT

"Obama's bad example may force congress to act". Oh please, this congress (the most inefficient and publicly despised in history) has not been able to act on anything.

ECR
Burke, VA

One more thing Jay, I see you and your staff have managed to find the most sinister looking picture the president has ever taken to include with this article. Please don't tell me you guys don't operate that way. And it doesn't matter what the party of the president is. If you're making a point about the president you have the ability to influence the reader before they read a word by the picture you include in your article. Is that a fair and reasonable function of the press? I always thought it was about reporting the truth, rather than influencing the perception of the truth. Liberal papers did to George W. Bush and conservative ones do it to Obama. Like I said, the game goes on.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Jay, you are relying on Congress to act? That's makes me laugh!

Fitz
Murray, UT

"Commentaries on the Constitution" make the point that "every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;..."
Over the decades, the interpretation of the rights granted under the Constitution has morphed into believes that have left the original writings of the founding fathers.

Yes, there is a right for freedom of the press. Over the decades the press has decided that publishing classified information, information that is part of the national security. There must be a balance between the press and protecting our national security. Would it have been within the press's right to publish the D-Day attack plans prior to the assault? I don't think so. There has to be a line that is not crossed over, and when it is, responsibility must be assumed by whomever crossed the line.

While 'absence of malice' was not a part of this editorial, it too has lines and, from my perspective, the Courts have allowed the press too much leniency here as well. Again, you can print what you want, but if you abuse that right, you are responsible for your words.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

@ECR: People who have security clearance should abide by the terms of their clearance. However, what if you became privy to information that the government was doing something you considered unethical and/or illegal? Would you feel justified in leaking that information? Isn't it more honorable to blow the whistle on secret government abuses than honor the terms of a security clearance? Those people and the reporters they work with should be protected, not prosecuted.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

Evensen: "If the media gets [sic] a federal law..."

OK. I know I'm swimming against the raging tidal currents of popular usage, but is it too much to ask to construct "media" as the plural noun that it is? I expect the college dropout talk radio hosts to be indifferent to correct usage, but it is especially grating for a print journalist to make the error in his lede. Do style manuals mean nothing these days? At least he did not throw in a "literally" (my other pet peeve).

For those who think this is a trivial matter, treating "media" as singular noun (even when used in the restrictive sense of news disseminating institutions, what used to be called the Press) sends the inaccurate message that all of the various news organizations somehow comprise a singular monolithic entity. Does anyone really think that Fox, MSNBC, WorldNetDaily, Pacifica News, Mother Jones, The Blaze, the NY Times, WSJ, NPR, and HuffPo all act as a unified being?

/soapbox

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

ECR

"Liberal papers did to George W. Bush . . . ?? "

You MUST be kidding.

Almost ALL the news media irresponsibly gave GW Bush a pass as his administration illegally made war on a country that did not attack us first.

How many in the news media criticized the Bush administration for irresponsibly allowing a climate of irrational exuberance that eventually resulted in GW's Great Recession?

Right Wing money men and demagogues have had their evil way with America ever since the Reagan administration, and America STILL suffers from it. The media slavishly cooperated with Right Wingers by literally turning a President's sexual indiscretions into a federal case, while deflecting attention AWAY from important considerations, like the build up of terror cells eventually resulting in 911.

The so-called "liberal media" has been kissing up to greedy and willfully delusional Right Wing oppressors for decades.

The fourth estate essentially became a surrogate mouthpiece for the powerful second estate.

People in the news media have abrogated their responsibility to observe and report the FACTS . . . and they should be ashamed.

ECR
Burke, VA

Invisible hand - you have made an excellent point. The Pentagon Papers come to mind and I think when people find there is wrongdoing going on they should report it. But Jay mentioned reporting on "young Somali-Americans who were returning to Somalia to join forces with violent Islamic extremists." The story said a grand jury had secretly indicted the young men on charges related to terrorism. So was the administration, in this case, doing something unethical or illegal? The evidence brought forth in a grand jury hearing is meant to be kept secret. This was simply the case of a reporter who broke a sensational story and somebody broke the law by telling of what was going within the so-called secure walls of the grand jury room. With the information, the young men indicted could have escaped from the authorities before they had a chance to apprehend them, possibly allowing them to work against our government. Jay used that example and Eric Holder's attempt to force the reporter to divulge his sources for the story, as an example of the administration overstepping its bounds. I disagree with that assessment. That's all.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

@GaryO: The federal case wasn't about sexual indiscretions it was about perjury. It's bad enough when a president lies routinely to the American people, but when he does it under oath it makes a mockery of the justice system and it rises to an impeachable offense.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Who made it illegal for photographers to take pictures of American caskets coming home from Iraq?

And the right has the audacity to complain about Obama?

Amazing

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Using a FOX "NEWS" reporter as an example does not convince us that Obama is picking on the media.

For one thing, FOX "NEWS" is not a legitimate News source. FOX "NEWS" is to real news as professional wrestling is to the Olympics.

FOX “NEWS,” like other Right Wing pseudo-news outlets, propagandizes simple-minded souls into backing the agenda of plutocrats like Rupert Murdoch, who acquired numerous once-legitimate but now fake-news sources, including the Wall Street Journal.

The real agenda of fake news outlets like FOX "NEWS" is to present an “alternate reality” (as Charles Krauthammer in a moment of rare candor expressed it) that reinforces Plutocracy in this nation. Subverting the government is a means to that end. It should be no surprise that some of their simple-minded followers occasionally assassinate cops eating lunch, or blow up a Federal Building, or target people for murder outside of synagogues.

It is right for America to fight this twisted and perverse form of evil. Right Wing America embodies the heart of that evil, where some self-described patriots carry Old Glory, and Don’t-Tread-On-Me flags, and swastika banners . . . All with equal reverence.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Invisible Hand -

"The federal case wasn't about sexual indiscretions it was about perjury."

WRONG.

It was about a bunch of insanely jealous Republicans who just couldn't stand the tremendous successes of the Clinton administration that temporally abolished Reagonomics by raising taxes for high earners, and then impudently disproved the dire predictions of Republicans who had said a second Great Depression would be the consequence.

Republicans just could not STAND the fact that their ideology was being so blatantly disproven and trashed by the reality of four CONSECUTIVE budget surpluses, and a nation at peace, with strong international allies, and an immensely STRONG economy.

Nope. As demonstrated again and again since then during the Obama administration, Republicans proved that they would much rather see America suffer than have it succeed under a Democratic administration.

Face it Invisible Hand, when Right Wingers succeed, America suffers.

And when America suffers, it means that Right Wingers have succeeded in achieving their goals.

ECR
Burke, VA

Gary O - I see I touched a nerve. You and I live in the same state but I can guarantee you the newspapers in northern Virginia, ie. The Washington Post, published pictures of G.W. Bush that made him look either sinister or idiotic. I'm not suggesting they were too far off in their depiction of him but even I have to admit they were unfair to him in some instances and used their vast library of unfavorable images of him to influence their readers.

Let's be honest and just admit that it happens on both sides of the issue.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

@GaryO: You may have a point about political motivations for Clinton's impeachment. But that doesn't change the facts of the case, which are that Clinton perjured himself under oath. Everything else is just political spin.

Speaking of political spin, let's not pretend that the press is politically neutral. There are at least as many pro-Democrat news outlets as pro-Republican. That doesn't make them illegitimate, you just have to take what everyone says with a grain of salt and realize they have an agenda. I'm glad we have competing news organizations, it's important for the marketplace of ideas. Disparaging Fox News says a lot more about your political insecurities than it does about Fox.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

to FT

Congress may not be popular, but when a number like 14% comes up, which is the last one I saw along with 40% for Obama, I hope you realize what that is saying. It says that when asked if you like Congress, all Democrats think House and say no, and all Republicans think Senate (and Harry Reid) and say no. Not much room left. I mention Harry Reid because he has largely been the veto pen for Obama. He is the single biggest reason little legislation is getting passed. As majority leader he has the power to not even let a law come to the floor for a straight up or down vote. And he uses that power a lot.

Gary O

Fox News was, according to a recent survey by the Brookings Institute, the most TRUSTED news outlet in the country. They beat all the networks and other cable news stations. And they cover stories that the others don't, like the mess on the Mexican border going on right now. You can disparage them all you want, but it does not change the truth. Right now, they're the best in the business.

my_two_cents_worth
university place, WA

What a waist of news print and bits. The AG under Obama is doing nothing that hasn't been tried by every AG since who knows when. Reporters protecting confidential informants has been a contentious issue at all levels of government since I started paying attention some 50-plus years ago. Any attempts by Republicans in the house to legislate protections that already exist is not about protecting anyone's rights but about political grandstanding. This year it's the Republicans. Fear not, there will be a time in the future where it will be the Democrats turn to grandstand and rest assured they will take advantage of it.

OHBU
Columbus, OH

re: happy2bhere

A study showing a news agency is trusted in no way discounts any of the negative said about them. All it means is that "they're the best in the business" at convincing their viewers to accept everything they spew lock-step. Viewership and loyalty do not make them trustWORTHY.

On the contrary, many have pointed out time and time again where factcheckers can show them to be misleading, where they are saying something that old footage shows they were opposed to earlier, or where they present video "evidence" of an event which is proven to have been taken at a completely different time and event. Many have shown Fox News' ethical issues, but when your viewers only watch your program or listen to conservative talk radio, they're not going to be confronted by that contrary point of view.

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