A good test for media bias, since Obama administration actions against journalists proven.
Donald Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration “wiretapped” his phones and/or Trump Tower, continues to reverberate.
The accusations have refocused the argument over Trump’s alleged Russia ties, which amount at this point only to innuendo, into a discussion of Obama surveillance practices.
As discussed in my prior post, which is getting a lot of attention, the focus on the term “wiretap” and whether Obama “ordered” surveillance under FISA, may be a distraction, Some curious language in both Trump’s “wiretap” accusation and Obama’s defense.
The media, however, is being dragged into another direction, one focusing on Obama administration surveillance practices.
This morning Donald Trump, through Sean Spicer, called for a congressional investigation of Obama administration election surveillance.
(added) It looks like that will happen:
Devin Nunes says in a statement that House Intel will investigate possible surveillance against Trump
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 5, 2017
Like moths to a fire, the media now is obsessed with Trump’s call for a congressional investigation of Obama.
The focus has changed, for sure.
I don’t expect a favorable reaction from the media to the call for an investigation of Obama administration surveillance of Trump.
But what if the investigation was of Obama administration surveillance of journalists?
There is plenty of evidence that took place, as HuffPo reported in 2013, Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists, Report Finds:
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based journalist advocacy organization, released Downie’s findings Thursday in its first comprehensive look at press freedom in the United States: “The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America.”
For 32 years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has been better known for investigating press freedom under authoritarian governments, or where journalists are killed with impunity or in war zones. But this spring’s revelations about the Justice Department secretly seizing phone records at The Associated Press and obtaining a Fox News reporter’s email account have increased concerns closer to home.
Downie, a journalism professor at Arizona State University, expressed concerns in late May about the future of investigative reporting in light of the AP and Fox News revelations. Shortly after that, the Committee to Protect Journalists asked Downie to investigate. Downie in recent months spoke with journalists, government transparency advocates and current and former government officials.
In the report, Downie examined a range of Obama administration tactics that hinder government transparency. These include unprecedented use of the Espionage Act in prosecuting media leaks, classifying government documents as secret when no harm could come from their release, increased government surveillance that jeopardizes the safety of news sources, Freedom of Information Act violations, and White House-produced content that can’t substitute for independent, accountability journalism.
Committee to Protect Journalists chairman Sandra Mims Rowe and executive director Joel Simon sent the report to Obama, along with a letter expressing concerns over a pattern of administration actions “that impedes the flow of information on issues of great public interest and thwarts the free and open discussion necessary to a democracy.” (The letter, published below, made six recommendations.)
Recall how the Obama administration secretly obtained AP phone records:
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
So here is a test for media bias.
Put aside whether there should be a congressional investigation of Obama administration surveillance, if any, of Trump or the Trump campaign.
Would the media support a congressional investigation into Obama administration surveillance and intimidation of journalists?DONATE
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