Associated Press left to fight alone by major media

Associated Press is alone in fighting the government's assault on them. Photo: AP

CHICAGO, May 15, 2013 — Enough time has gone by in the news cycle for the country to know that the Department of Justice secretly collected and seized phone records from Associated Press and possibly its reporters. 

The news media should be outraged. Instead, they are silent. There are no screaming headlines, no scathing editorials. The news media is doing what it does best, covering for the administration and reporting on the heroic deeds of celebrities. Angeline Jolie and Barbara Walters are headline news. In Chicago, Donald Trump testified in a lawsuit against one of his properties. The AP incident is a no go. 


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A letter was sent by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and signed by several major news organizations. They were too cowardly to publicly bash Holder and the Department of Justice in their headlines and editorial pages. So, they write him a letter. They my as well write themselves a letter. 

There was some minor media criticism. Entertainment stations CNN and MSNBC had a few of their entertainers* make carefully worded comments. Some has been, Carl Bernstein, carefully weighed in. Bernstein’s chief outrage was the comparison of Obama to Nixon. For some reason he has an unnatural predilection for the late president. Wolf Blitzer babbled something incoherent. 

The news media should be in a public uproar over the AP incident. It is a major abuse of power by this opaque administration. A major assault on the press is serious business. It puts a chilling effect on their freedom to report stories. 

The White House and Washington Press Corps are not asking hard serious questions. There is no media assault on Eric Holder** or the White House. The media is not camped out at the Department of Justice. They are not hounding the Attorney General. 


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The media are hoping and praying for another human or natural tragedy so they can swoop down on some town like predatory pterodactyls. Anything to make the AP scandal go away. 

This is the result of journalism’s self-inflicted malpractice and malfeasance. News gatherers and their entertainment counterparts on television became this administration’s lap dancers. They gave up their watchdog status to get access. They kept the blush on the rose and gilded the lily of this administration. President Obama and his bungling bureaucrats could do no wrong.   

They gladly and gleefully report what they are told to report. They only ask questions they are told to ask. They copy or cut and paste what ever they are given. If they do not, they will not be invited to all the cool events. Their only concern is pleasuring the administration. 

President Obama is their president. To paraphrase Shelley, President Obama is the Adam of their labors; their Adam is a fallen angel, turning on them. The news media, fearful of their creation, does not know what to do. 


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Scott Pelley, a CBS television entertainer, stated the news media is “getting the big stories wrong” during a speech at Quinnipiac University. The reason is clear. They do no work. If  the “W” word offends your tender sensitivities, too bad. They do no digging, rooting, investigating, or double and triple fact checking. What difference does it make? They go along to get along. Move on. Forward. 

The Associated Press story should not go away. It should not be yesterday’s news, turned into fish wrap or birdcage lining. This story should stay and play front and center until heads roll. The Hell’s Angels have a saying. “If you attack one of us, you attack all of us.” The news media should adopt that as their mantra. 

The assault on AP has little to do with national security. This is a case of high-level hypocrisy. Government officials asked AP to hold the story over national security concerns. AP cooperated. Once national security concerns were allayed, AP was given the green light for publication by government officials. The operation was a success. Anyone with marginal intelligence would think the government would want a successful mission that saved lives publicized. Something does not add up here. It makes no sense. 

The AP story contradicted the president’s carefully scripted narrative that there was no danger from a terrorist attack leading up to the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s capture and death. The AP story made a liar out of the president. Eric Holder’s political assassins went in. It was too late to kill the story but they could chill Associated Press and the rest of the media. 

Every reporter, journalist, editorial writer, editor, columnist, and publisher should be up in arms over this intrusion. They should be afraid, very afraid. White House Propaganda Minister Jay Carney said the president is a “strong defender” of the First Amendment and “firm believer” that the press should not be blocked from reporting. That is that. Case closed. Story over. Move on. Forward. 

When the history of this administration is written, one word should be repeated over and over and over again, incompetence. The media willingly, cheerfully, and obediently became incompetent to protect their president. The president does not need government abuse to stop reporters from doing their jobs. Reporters and their bosses stopped doing their jobs on their own. 

Now, when their irresponsible and reprehensible incompetence comes back and bites them, they cannot defend themselves. They lived in the administration echo chamber so long they forgot how to do their jobs. 

Old school real journalists are spinning in their graves. They left behind a legacy of greatness. The inheritors, television entertainers, lap dancers, and Gen-X gofers destroyed that legacy in the space of one day. The day President Obama was elected. 

*Television presenters or newsreaders are not journalists or reporters. They ceased to be when they put their mugs on television. They are entertainers. They read scripts written for them. They do nothing else, except make sure their make up is right, their hair is properly coifed, and their clothes match.

**Eric Holder claims he recused himself long ago from the probe. If you believe that, there is Pacific Ocean front property for sale in Nevada.

 


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Peter Bella

Peter Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance photographer, freelance writer, budding videographer, and passionate cook.  He aims to be the sharp stick that pokes and annoys.  The Middle Class Guy is a political column written from a center-right point of view.  While concentrating mainly on politics he will stray into culture, entertainment, sports, cooking, and humor from time to time, along with Memories of things Pabst.  All from a middle class perspective.

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