Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sheryl Attkisson – Doing One’s Job - the Right Way – Might Mean being ostracized by One's Peers - or Worse

When the Obama Administration had targeted AP and Fox News Reporter, James Rosen, for essentially working with sources, they criminalized journalism – using the 1917 Espionage Act, according to Michael Barone at the National Review.

The search warrant in the Rosen case cites Section 793(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. Section 793(d) says that a person lawfully in possession of information that the government has classified as secret who turns it over to someone not lawfully entitled to posses it has committed a crime. That might cover Rosen’s source.

Section 793(g) is a conspiracy count that says that anyone who conspires to help the source do that has committed the same crime. That would be the reporter.

It sounds as though this law criminalizes a lot of journalism. You might wonder how such a law ever got passed and why, for the last 90 years, it has very seldom produced prosecutions and investigations of journalists.

What of Freedom of the Press – apparently it depends on the administration and how it chooses to deal with a press corp that might appear hostile to its policies. Understanding that the manner, in which the public had perceived journalist in the past, was in line with Superman – those individuals who would go to any length to upend corruption in high and low places. That had changed over the past decades, with the political divisions between two identified parties becoming so distinct that the media, in most cases, holding progressive or liberal point of view, became less believable – it hammered away endlessly on one administration, and looked the other way for another – one whose policies more closely aligned with the career as a whole. There are exceptions to the rule of course, and they would be few and far between.

The spotlight is now on one Sheryl Attkisson - , not due to her sources, but, with the same criticisms that the other aforementioned news agencies have broadcast or published regarding mistakes, scandals of the current administration, this particular CBS reporter, has earned the ire of the White House – for doing something that every American strives for – their job, passionately and without regard to stretching the truth to fit the narrative.

According to Politico, this has brought attention to the Emmy winning reporter, who, in all fairness, reported on both the Bush and Obama administrations.
However, the difference between the two are stark – the Bush Administration constantly under attack by the press, then President Bush appeared to retreat, there were no bumbling and stumbling press secretaries, some sharp barbs – the public noticed, and a relentless press drove a presidency into the basement. Compare to the Obama Administration where there is never an unkind word, in print and broadcast except for a few lone voices, reporting on stories that would have and should have become front page, evening news, ad nasuem for weeks – had it been an Administration of another political identity. Therefore, when one is in a profession where the majority are of one political mindset- the lone-wolf who actually does their job, appears to be biased.

Herein lays the danger – administrations come and go – and although hard to believe that a Libertarian leaning, or Republican administration would in any way suppress the press – what if the shoe were on the other foot? – The press, as a whole, has lost the public trust when it comes to politics – now faced with losing more, their rights to work in their chosen field , one finds them (as a group), cannibalizing one of their own, who isn’t towing the party line.

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