The only reason that James Risen or anyone else in the press could possibly be surprised by the Obama administration’s behavior toward the press is that they weren’t paying attention. Obama came into power promising/threatening “fundamental transformation.” One of America’s fundamental values is a free press. But along with freedom of religion and the freedom to just be left alone, that freedom had to be curtailed in order for Obama’s “fundamental transformation” to be enforced.
New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”
Again, hardly a surprise. This president sees some Americans as enemies who must be punished. This might be a Nixonification of the Obama presidency, but there’s a difference between the current president and that one. Nixon kept a private enemies list. Obama made his enemies list a matter of the public record. Reporting some secret that Obama doesn’t want reported is a quick way to get yourself inked onto that list.
Setting up a Tea Party and establishing an election integrity watchdog are also quick ways to get your name written into the book of punishments. Back in 2009, owning certain auto dealerships brought down the wrath of Obama.
The pity in this case is that some reporters have to experience the punishments firsthand before they start figuring out what’s going on. Some in the media will never get it.