“It’s hard to fathom how the president who started with the press fluffing his pillows has ended up trying to suffocate the press with those pillows.” Perhaps still coming down from overdosing on a mile high chronic-infused chocolate bar, Maureen Dowd has an all-too-rare moment of clarity:
How can he use the Espionage Act to throw reporters and whistle-blowers in jail even as he defends the intelligence operatives who “tortured some folks,” and coddles his C.I.A. chief, John Brennan, who spied on the Senate and then lied to the senators he spied on about it?
“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
Risen points to recent stories about the administration pressing an unprecedented initiative known as the Insider Threat Program, which McClatchy described as “a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.”
Risen may be trapped in Ibsen, but Obama is channeling Orwell.
Which seems only fair, as that’s how his presidential bid began in early 2007, as Obama (through his campaign surrogate who created the video) compared Hillary Clinton to Big Brother from 1984. I’m certainly OK with the comparison of the woman who brought us Hillarycare, “It Takes a Village,” and the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy as Orwellian, but in retrospect, perhaps the man who would use Orwell’s 1984 — and the anti First Amendment policies of Woodrow Wilson, America’s pioneering fascist — as his toolbox might not have been the best person to deliver the message.
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