Police in Ferguson, MO arrested two journalists for covering the protests over their fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager six. Officers shoved Wesley Lowery, of the Washington Post, into a soda machine for taping them, before he was cuffed in plastic binds. An officer rammed Ryan Grim’s head against glass. The reporter for the Huffington Post wasn’t packing up his reporting gear quickly enough. Both journalists’ respective papers released statements condemning the Ferguson police, but the decline of free press reaches further than one town in Missouri.
Unfortunately state suppression of the press is hardly isolated to Ferguson. The problem goes all the way up to the White House, where the Obama Administration is preventing journalists from accurately reporting on policy.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists, the Obama Administration has engaged in “excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens.” The grievances were also supported by 37 other journalism and open government groups. The report details the use of “Public Information Officers,” whose roles are to filter reports before they’re available for mass consumption. Stories coming from the White House are trimmed and primed to perfection before the public can even get access to the latest information.