On the AP-Justice Department Story

The Justice Department’s seizure of the AP’s phone records shows that this administration cares far more about power than political and civil liberty.  It has intruded on the freedom of the press in ways that the allegedly power-hungry Bush Administration would never have dreamed.

When the Bush administration was wracked with the leaks of classified information about its counter-terrorism policies, most notably its interrogation and electronic surveillance programs, Democrats in Congress happily took advantage of the information. Nary a peep was heard about protecting national security and preventing the media from publishing classified information.

But now President Obama has to live in the leak-happy world that he and his colleagues created to undermine the last administration. And they don’t like it. Unlike the Bush administration, however, they are willing to go to lengths that threaten the freedom of the press to stop it — this administration has conducted far more investigations and prosecutions for leaking than its predecessors. And, for the most part, this administration has gotten away with it from the press, which has given them a pass on civil liberties compared to how they treated Republicans.

I deplore the Obama administration’s assault on freedom of the press. But I have no sympathy for the AP or the mainstream media, because this is how you get treated when you are in a politician’s pocket. If the AP’s editors and reporters and their colleagues at other newspapers had been more adversarial toward this President, as they were with President Bush, they would been treated with far more respect. The AP should wish for a return of the days of a Republican administration, which considered the press a worthy adversary, rather than a servant to be mistreated at will.

  1. David Williamson

    Mr Holder has awoken a sleeping giant… or, a dwarf, at least.

  2. RushBabe49

    Oooooh, this should be VERY interesting.  I should be fun to see how the mainstream media treats an assault on one of its own, by their creation.

  3. Salvatore Padula
    RushBabe49: Oooooh, this should be VERY interesting.  I should be fun to see how the mainstream media treats an assault on one of its own, by their creation. · 0 minutes ago

    I think how the media respond will go a long way to settling the question of whether their bias is primarily ideological or partisan political. I’ve heard arguments for each, but I tend to think it’s more of the latter.

  4. Pseudodionysius

    John, I’d like to see you go back on Jon Stewart’s show to discuss this issue with him after he recollects the pieces of his head that just exploded after digesting this.

    I can’t get the Daily Show on my cable provider and the CRTC blocks it from my web browser, but I’d love to watch it on YooTube.

  5. Pseudodionysius

    The President’s twitter account is now unintentionally hilarious reading:

    Barack Obama        ✔ @BarackObama

    More than 1.4 million Americans signed our petition demanding expanded background checks for gun sales—by far the most in @OFA history.

    1:41 PM – 7 May 2013

    And apparently they got expanded background checks on AP reports for free.Bada bing.#CarneyFiringImminent
  6. KC Mulville

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the dam has indeed started to break?

    This time, at least, we can forget the quaint myth about the press speaking truth to power. The press had to be dragged into this. Ironically, it was power (i.e., congressional republicans) who had to do the actual speaking … to the press.

    Allow me to pause from my never-ending disenchantment against politicians, just for a moment, and to recognize that at least in this case, these hearings broke the silence. Those whistleblower hearings changed things. The witnesses deserve the ultimate credit, but in this case, the politicians actually helped the situation. 

  7. 3rd angle projection

    I wouldn’t hold my breath about the media turning on Obama.

    Ben Rhodes is the current deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for U.S. His brother, David Rhodes, is President of CBS News.

    Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, was previously the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs and is now the White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control. Her brother, Ben Sherwood, is President of ABC News.

    Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, is currently the senior national correspondent for the ABC program, Good Morning America.

    Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh. He mentioned this and more on today’s show, 5/13.

  8. Dave Carter
    C

    Unequivocal, concise, passionate, accurate, and damning.   Are you sure you’re a lawyer?  

  9. Crow

    Moreover, this administration leaks like a sieve at the highest levels when it suits its political fortunes.

  10. HeartofAmerica

    Serves the MSM right if you ask me. They’ve done nothing but act like lapdogs for over five years. What is that old saying? When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

  11. Pencilvania
    3rd angle projection: I wouldn’t hold my breath about the media turning on Obama.

    Ben Rhodes is the current deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for U.S. His brother, David Rhodes, is President of CBS News.

    Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, was previously the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs and is now the White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control. Her brother, Ben Sherwood, is President of ABC News.

    Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, is currently the senior national correspondent for the ABC program, Good Morning America.

    . . . . which explains how these major media outlets are securely in the corner of this administration – or maybe that talking point should be edited to read

    ‘securely in the back pocket of’  - no, maybe changed to

    ‘securely in bed with’ – no, perhaps revised to

    ‘securely on the leash of’ – not quite there, how about 

    ‘securely in the tank for’ . . . . well . . .

  12. Pat in Obamaland

    This is a liberal administration and the AP is, well, the AP. They’ll do what every large organization does when dealing with big government: make a loud enough squeal to garner cessations and crawl away happy with the narrow gifts bestowed upon them by Big Brother. I doubt we hear much more about this after a few days and a few – very quiet – apologies.

    It’s sad but it’s our current reality. Same will be true about the targeting of conservative groups–the focus will be on those evil Republicans trying to “politicize” small “bureaucratic mismanagement.”

  13. iDad

    Professor Yoo – Does “I deplore the Obama administration’s assault on freedom of the press” mean that you believe the Obama Administration’s action with respect to AP is illegal or unconstitutional?  Or is your point only that the media and Democrats are hypocrites?

  14. Sheila

    AP: What kind of woman do you think I am?

    OBAMA ADMIN: We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.

  15. Fake John Galt

    Why did the Justice Department have to seize the records? I would have thought that all they would have needed to do was ask and the AP would have handed them over after collating and putting them in binders for them.

  16. BrentB67

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer portion of society. I hope the Justice Department releases all the records and a couple of dozen reporters get busted for criminal activity or at the least adultery and get into some nasty expensive divorces and ruin their lives.

    Every person in the press that has been asleep at the switch for going on 6 years deserves every bit of grief they receive in this mess.

    A government so powerful it can give the press all the access they want to write the talking points etc. is also powerful enough to take away their liberty to exist. 

    Sleep with the dog and wake up with the fleas. 

  17. BrentB67
    KC Mulville: Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the dam has indeed started to break?

    No, not even close. 46M+ on food stamps, 10M+ on disability, approaching $17T in national debt to fund this nonsense. 

    As long as the welfare gravy train is still chugging along this kind of thing is just a distraction Obama will have to set up a display for in his Presidential Library. See also Clinton/Lewinsky.

  18. Omid Moghadam

    AP just woke up in the Democratic Party ghetto. Ask African-Americans how they have fared there?!

  19. DocJay

    A failure to permanently discredit Obama dooms our nation.

  20. Lavaux

    I’m probably not smart enough to disagree with John Yoo, but I’m also reckless, so here goes: If the DOJ want to investigate possible criminal violations involving the AP and their Obama regime sources, then go for it! March the whole scurvy lot of them out their swanky offices in manacles and chains, frog-walk them in front of Congress, hang them by their big toes from the Tree of Liberty, whatever. The stocks and a liberal pelting with rotten sardines for two weeks, that’s my preference.

    If AP’s partisan hacks facilitate criminal activity to advance the political fortunes of the current regime while undermining national security, then such malfeasances trump any first amendment protections they enjoy or democracy safeguarding function they (dis)serve. Prosecute them to the hilt, and keep in mind that I despise the DOJ as the jackbooted, brown-shirted thugs they tend to behave as when they run amok abroad. You think the federal judiciary are importing too much foreign law, wait to until you learn how much American federal law the DOJ are imposing on the rest of the world by sheer duress.