Make no mistake: by criminalizing James Rosen of Fox News for asking government employees to give him information, the Obama administration is suppressing the ability of the press to do its job. It is so egregious that even the New York Times, normally sycophants for Obama, is alarmed. The editorial board today writes:
With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.
And the Times, a member/owner of Associated Press, detects a pattern:
The Rosen case follows other signs that the administration has gone overboard in its zeal to find and muzzle insiders. The Associated Press revealed last week that the government had secretly seized two months’ worth of records for telephones used by the agency’s staff, partly to determine the source of a leak about a report involving a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen. At least two other major leak investigations are continuing. Six current and former administration officials have been indicted under the old Espionage Act for leaking classified information to the press and public. In 2010, a federal judge in Maryland sentenced a leaker to 20 months in jail while admitting that he was “in the dark as to the kind of documents” involved in the leak or what impact they had on national security.
Many conservatives have moved beyond caring what the Times thinks or writes. But the newspaper acts as a pilot fish for the rests of the media, so its position on this move toward authoritarianism is highly significant.