President Obama Is 'Troubled' About Chilling Effects His Own Administration Is Causing To Journalism?

from the really-now? dept

Well, this is rich. During his talk on Thursday, much of which focused on terrorism and drones, President Obama admitted that he’s asked Eric Holder to review the DOJ’s process for investigating leaks that involve getting information from journalists:

President Obama said Thursday that he is “troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.”

In a major speech on national security, Obama said that the “Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society.”

While it’s great that he’s “troubled,” it’s not a “possibility” that this is chilling investigative journalism, it’s a confirmed fact. Not only that, but many believe that this was actually part of the goal all along. There’s been no evidence of any interest in “balance.” There has, instead, been what is clearly a concerted effort to intimidate whistleblowers and the press that investigates the federal government. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against more cases of whistleblowing to the press than all other Presidents combined. That’s not about “striking the right balance.”

Obama said that “journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs,” but that the “focus must be on those who break the law.”

Oh really? Then why did your own DOJ claim that a journalist was an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator for reporting on a leak — just like tons of other reporters?

President Obama sounds like someone campaigning against his own policies. Either Eric Holder and the DOJ have “gone rogue” or the President is hastily pretending that his administration is not doing what it clearly has been doing for years.

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Comments on “President Obama Is 'Troubled' About Chilling Effects His Own Administration Is Causing To Journalism?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Media should be going full out Assult... they won't

Shame that the media is still playing along. Their reaction to “finding out” they are being spied on is pitiful. I feel embarrassed for them. More people now see them as pussy lapdogs of the politicians.

  • Benghazi –
    Lame non-scandal, even if the President initially misled for whatever reason.

  • IRS –
    Democrats actual political targeting of opposition, using IRS….. scandal and abuse of power. NO PROOF OF THAT.
    IRS going after groups with political sounding names….. No scandal.
    Ignore this, Ignore this, Ignore this, Ignore, Ignore, Ignore
    These groups are designed to funnel money to politicians from “anonymous”(to the public) “donors”.
    Nothing wrong with that, IGNORE FFS
    it’s political targeting and there is no proof to prove it. Must be true then. No proof = true theory.

  • Spying –
    They do it on “normal people” and have been since the patriot act.
    Cry more, “journalists”. Your sympathy for the people didn’t exist when they spied on us. But now they came for you.

    The media will stay on script.

    ■ IRS “scandal” has nothing to do with funneling money to a corrupt government system.

    ■ “Spying” has nothing to do with corrupted government practices and removal of everyone’s freedoms.

    ■ Benghazi is relevant.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Media should be going full out Assult... they won't

Most of the major media outlets don’t specialize in investigative journalism; they merely regurgitate White House statements and talking points, acting more the order of a public defender anytime some higher-up gets caught with their pants down.

It’s painfully obvious that the Espionage Act was put in place as a means to intimidate reporters; the “leaked” info that AP reporters were being spied upon was done with likewise intent. The government is looking to create a chilling effect so that it can get away with doing anything it wants behind the veil of secrecy, without fear of reprisal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Russian saying

It actually to some degree seems true, but he needs to make a far more active attempt to rid his administration of elements with problematic views on openness. If he doesn’t, there is no doubt that he is speaking newspeak to try and change peoples perception of his administration rather than correct the problems in it.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Chilling...

For those of us who know history we may not need to ‘look up’ the quote.

Second point, not that I agree with the patriot act at all because I don’t, but Obama is no better, he supported it’s renewal and did you not read in this very article?

‘The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against more cases of whistleblowing to the press than all other Presidents combined. That’s not about “striking the right balance.” ‘

so Obama is just as bad, if not worse when it comes to protecting our liberties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Knowing history” is knowing word for word perfect Hitler quotes. Not even his most popular quotes.
Seems Legit !

I agree that Obama is just as bad, if not worse than Bush on Civil Liberties, Privacy, Human rights etc…
I shouldn’t have to say it every time I criticize one or the other.
I am not “Fair and Balanced”
Life is not “Fair and Balanced”
The whole Idea that I have to criticize one IF I criticize the other is complete bullshit.
I hate both sides equally on most issues.
On some issues I hate one side more.

The absence of criticizing Obama in my original comment does in NO WAY infer my support, ignorance or denial of his actions.
That* is what you made up in your head. I didn’t even imply it in the slightest.

Comprehension skills are severely lacking

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well I am probably a touch older than you are, but that is a fairly well known quote of Hitler. Just because you don’t know the quote, doesn’t mean others don’t.

You don’t have to say anything, about one or the other, but if you don’t tell the whole story you should not get upset if someone ‘fleshes out the facts’.

I made nothing up about you. You started talking about Bush (not the subject of the article), I simply followed your comments up in context of this article. If that upsets you that is your problem, not mine.

There is nothing lacking in my comprehension skills, but since your an AC it is kind of hard to tell you all apart as you all look alike.

If you don’t like being challenged or corrected, perhaps one should not make posts. Just a thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Butthurt partisans everywhere

LOLWOT ? Do you even read, nevermind comprehend.

I say that Hitler Quotes being used to describe Obama is retarded. The specific quote would fit Bush better. Therefore I must be an Obama supporter who is blind to the shit he does. And living in the past.

Wrong moron. LRN2Comprehend

Shit Bush implemented IS bad.
Shit Obama implemented IS bad.
That “shit” IS , not “was”(as in the past)… That shit IS bad.
While the shit Bush implemented IS in existence…. he can be blamed for it. (same goes for Obama)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 on the topic of hitler quotes

May as well compete, seeing as it was brought up.

IF we are going to apply Hitler quotes to a political side in America… Who do you think seems more Hitler-ish ?

The “right wing Hitler” quotes seem sorta right wing’y to me.
inb4 some wrongly use inference to conclude I am a blind left winger.
It’s not a two sided, black/white thing. Something Hitler knew and used as propaganda to make people believe it was a two sided issue.

“The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands…”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 180-181.

“In political matters feeling often decides more correctly than reason.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 173

“All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 180

“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 184

“It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance… As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 180-181

“[Propaganda] must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect… The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 180

“[Propaganda] does not have multiple shadings; it has a positive and a negative; love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie, never half this way and half that way?”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 183

“[This is the] very first condition which has to be fulfilled in every kind of propaganda: a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with?”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 182

“The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective [propaganda] will be.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 180

“For I must not measure the speech of a statesman to his people by the impression which it leaves in a university professor, but by the effect it exerts on the people. And this alone gives the standard for the speaker’s genius.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 477

“The purpose of propaganda is not to provide interesting distraction for blas? young gentlemen, but to convince? the masses. But the masses are slow moving, and they always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses finally remember them.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 185

“When there is change, it must not alter the content of what propaganda is driving at, but in the end must always say the same thing. For instance, a slogan must be presented from different angles, but the end of all remarks must always and immutably be the slogan itself. Only in this way can the propaganda have a unified and complete effect.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 185

“To whom should propaganda be addressed? To the scientifically trained intelligentsia or the less educated masses? It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 179

“As soon as one point is removed from the sphere of dogmatic certainty, the discussion may not simply result in a new and better formulation, but may easily lead to endless debates and general confusion.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

“The grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Butthurt partisans everywhere

Wrong AC “Thin Skin”, you need to look at the “Threaded” posts before the “chip on your shoulder” becomes too heavy.

I was replying to the AC that posted:

Re: Re: Chilling…
The same patriot act that Obama is gleefully using today?

NOT your stupid Hitler quote, moron…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YEP.. confirmed: Butthurt partisans everywhere

Guy posted Chilling…
I posted Re: Chilling…
You posted Re: Re: Chilling…
You replied to ME.
If you did reply to who you claim… it would have read “Re: Re: Re: Chilling…”
Also the thread lines don’t match up to your claim.

Even if you didn’t reply to me…. which you clearly did. It still applies.


Also the Hitler comment is not only relevant, it is far from stupid.
Comparing Obama to Hitler is classic butthurt right wing propaganda that is in no way accurate.
I even went on to explain that if you were to compare Hitler quotes to an American political party, it would be the Republicans that the quotes fit the most.
Fucking stupid to compare Republicans with Hitler too.

Moron is correct.
You decide who it is. Me or you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Warm and cuddly feeling...

I’m very reassured that the person in the center of many of these issues has been asked to investigate the issues.

Someone, somewhere and who absolutely had nothing to do with this will be found to be the rogue agent.

And I’ll be sure to post as a coward from now on since I have no fear that the IRS, EPA, FBI or OSHA may be used to silence critics of this administration.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: troubled

I understand that you’re just a horse with no name, so human language may be somewhat baffling to you, but, for your sake, I’ll have to ask you to go read and understand the fucking first paragraph of the source article that says, and I quote:

President Obama said Thursday that he is ?troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.?

Anonymous Coward says:

this global counter insurgency “war” started with King Bush II. He put these super “anti-terror” government institutions in place, FISA, DHS, pushed the spy laws, like Patriot Act. Ran up the debt paying for the war in iraq, and tax cuts, and cut bank and other regulations.

Now Obama tries to push a domestic agenda,( which has been pretty much thwarted,) and not to appear weak befor his political opponents he continues Bush’s spy war.

The supervision of these government agencies have been left on auto-pilot for way to long. and now Obama who is into his second term realises only now much of america’s principles have been sacrificed in ths spend-thrift war on terror.

as a guy that promised Not to be bush, Obama, will, when he looks back at his time in office will disapointed when he realises he left bush’s mistakes in place. and

out_of_the_blue says:

Obama says he can kill Mike or YOU with a drone,

and has actually killed hundreds of loosely-defined “combatants” and anyone around them with drones, yet Mike chooses to object on journalism being chilled? Talk about narrowly focused.

The real target of foreign wars against “shadowy” enemies is YOUR civil liberties. You are not going to remain free after the whole gov’t has become a killing machine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

DOJ is Partisan

When a “party” is put in the WH, it gets to pick it’s Atty Gen/DOJ players.

Thus, outrage of a DOJ that has the power to tap my phone without a warrant, tap 1st Amendment Protected reports, monitor this post & put me in jail for their reasons MUST go straight to the President’s desk (R or D) for hiring the people who carry out such activities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yea, he’s been a peach…

?Obama Signs NDAA 2013 Without Objecting To Indefinite Detention? -RT

?Some Unions Now Angry About Health Care Overhaul? – Yahoo

?DOJ And Dept. Of Education To Colleges: Start Restricting Free Speech On Campus Or Kiss Your Federal Funding Goodbye? -TechDirt restricting-free-speech-campus-kiss-your-federal-funding-goodbye.shtml

?Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles? –

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Many among those of us kinda knew.

I feel sorry for everyone who voted for Obama.

We knew. But we also realized that Romney was worse.

I expect Romney would do all the shit that Obama does, maybe even more (following in George W. Bush’s footsteps) and then would push a hard-right morality agenda as well.

The Soviet Union had a one party system. We have, essentially, a one party system with a ridiculous and appalling opposition party to create the illusion of having a choice.

Ultimately, who ever gets into office is going to pull the same corrupt crap while distracting us with wedge issues to make it seem like they’re doing their job.

Anonymous Coward says:

the 2008 election, the Republiacs didn’t stand a chance, they win whe the can serve up a candidate like nixon, but a decent, honrable, intelligent man its hard to belive he came from the same party as george bush.

anyway once he selected palin as his vice, it shook any confidence I had in that candidate

Anonymous Coward says:

What's galling to me...

is they have the audacity to say they will issue guidelines for journalists to “protect secrets”.

We already have a guideline in the U.S. It’s called the First Amendment.

What they’re label as secret these days is doubly absurd.

It is no secret that every human has the same capacity for egregious error and moral turpitude. It has nothing to do with national security.

Opinion polls have nothing to do with national security.

Accountability as applied to our leaders has nothing to do with national security… with the exception of the fact that if we make accountability an impossibility, there is no national security.

aeortiz (profile) says:

Obama a master doublethinker

His comments demonstrate his mastery of the delicate art of double think.

Two definition of doublethink from Wikipedia and 1984:

? To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself ? that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink. ?

? The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies ? all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth ?

Anonymous Coward says:

The looters are winning

I’ve already read a book about this administration. It ends with the transportation and distribution systems breaking down, massive nationwide rioting, the lights going out in NYC, and a general decline back to an eighteenth century level civilization (and I use the word “civilization” loosely).

Anonymous Coward says:

journalism is a way of reporting. so is whistle blowing. the difference being, to my mind, is that the whistle blower is reporting on something that certain people, including those in government up to and including the President, want kept hidden from, usually, the public. that usually means there is something, sometimes a lot of things, to hide!

Patrick says:

impeech him

did anyone hear and read what the president said and I qoute

“I’m troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.”
He’s only troubled that it bothers the journalists? he doesn’t say that he is troubled it happened just that hes trouble by how they feel about what has happened. This guy needs to be impeeched. There is no way he is protecting our constitution!

Anonymous Coward says:

One of the funny things about Techdirt is how oblivious it is to how leadership positions work (probably because few people here are actually in charge of anything more than their own life).

Yes, Barack Obama is the president. That does not make him omniscient or omnipotent. He is nominally the boss of about a zillion people. It is totally unfair to expect him to be aware of and responsible for the actions of every single one of his subordinates. Subordinates who are often gigantic agencies with their own strong personalities and agendas and organizational inertia.

So his being troubled about something is a good first step toward maybe fixing the problem. Even if he does want it fixed, he is probably going to try to figure out how to do that without burning too much political capital and burning too many bridges. That shit is complicated.

You all seem to want the president to go around issuing edict after edict to fix all the problems in the country like a dictator, assuming that if he actually did that it would work. What a wonderful fantasy that is.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, Barack Obama is the president. That does not make him omniscient or omnipotent. He is nominally the boss of about a zillion people. It is totally unfair to expect him to be aware of and responsible for the actions of every single one of his subordinates. Subordinates who are often gigantic agencies with their own strong personalities and agendas and organizational inertia.

That would be true if this were a one-off situation. It’s not. It’s happened over and over again and he’s been directly asked about his prosecutions of whistleblowers for years.

He knows.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Either Eric Holder and the DOJ have “gone rogue” or the President is hastily pretending that his administration is not doing what it clearly has been doing for years.

Fallacy of the excluded middle much? Really, those are the only two possible explanations?

Even if Obama knows, he is one man in charge of an impossible number of things and there are still just 24 hours in his day. Maybe he just can’t find the time to deal with this shit right now. You assume so much malice when there are far more mundane explanations.

It also takes a special kind of arrogance and lack of empathy to sit around writing articles complaining about what the President is and isn’t doing at micro-levels of detail with only the most minuscule understanding of what it is like to be the President, what powers he actually has, and the complex interpersonal and interagency conflicts that must exist.

Here is a tip, not just for this, but for life in general: if you observe something that doesn’t make sense about a complex situation and you have almost no understanding of the details of that complexity, the likelihood is that it actually does make sense for reasons you don’t appreciate. You may not like those reasons, but they are rarely simple. Maybe you should withhold your bile until you actually get it…if ever.

RT Cunningham (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s only one thing wrong with your diatribe. Even if the president isn’t personally responsible for every little detail at the federal level, he’s still responsible. Why? Because he’s the president. Every military commander knows you can delegate authority but not responsibility. Of course, Mr. Obama wouldn’t know that because he never served in the military (unless you count his title as “Commander in Chief”) and perhaps, neither have you.

Laroquod (profile) says:

Great plan, Mr. President

“Either Eric Holder and the DOJ have ‘gone rogue’ or the President is hastily pretending that his administration is not doing what it clearly has been doing for years.”

Luckily we won’t have to wonder about this for long, because the President has promised to get us answers. He’s put his best people on it: Eric Holder and the DOJ!

One caveat though: who will the President appoint to keep watch on Mr. Holder and make sure he does not torture or detain himself indefinitely? Is John Yoo available?

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