After the information about the Department of Justice collecting data on reporters, President Obama said that this could cause a “chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable”. Well, for once he is actually accurate. In a report from POLITICO,
National security reporters and watchdogs said they already have seen increased caution from government sources following revelations that the DOJ had subpoenaed Associated Press reporters’ phone records and tracked the comings and goings of Fox News reporter James Rosen at the State Department.
The problem that we will be seeing is not necessarily the reporters’ fear of the Justice Department, but it’s that many sources could now be scared off.
Some formerly forthcoming sources have grown reluctant to return phone calls, even on unclassified matters, and, when they do talk, prefer in-person conversations that leave no phone logs, no emails, and no records of entering and leaving buildings, reporters and watchdogs said.
There was a slow chill that started under the Bush administration, but it quickly escalated when Obama took office. Since 2009, when Obama took office, the Justice Department has undertaken six leak-related investigations — more than all other administrations combined.
Jay Carney commenting in a press conference earlier that both the President and Eric Holder are both concerned about walking the fine line of protecting the country while also allowing reporters to do their job. But their actions don’t seem to match Mr. Carney’s words.
With more and more reports of Americans having their lives hacked by the government, it is hard to believe that the President is actually concerned about reporters’ ability to do their jobs, or even Americans being able to live their everyday lives. As there is more surveillance of our lives, how is it that we are supposed to trust that the government is not out of control with this effort to “protect the homeland”.
If reporters can’t feel safe to do their job, or sources feeling okay with talking to reporters, how are things going to progress?