How typical of president Obama!
The White House today asked Senator Chuck Schumer to reintroduce a press shield law, a kind of bill that the New York senator says will "balance security needs against the public’s right to the free flow of information."
That request is an attempt to distance the commander-in-chief from the untidiness that has tossed the Justice Dept. into turmoil.
The Schumer outreach follows yesterday's Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press' blast at the Justice Dept. over its fishing expedition at the Associated Press.
The RCFP seethed: "None of us can remember an instance where such an overreaching dragnet for newsgathering materials was deployed by the Department, particularly without notices to the affected reporters or an opportunity to seek judicial review. The scope of this action calls into question the very integrity of the Dept. of Justice policies toward the press and its ability to balance, on its own, its police powers against the First Amendment rights of the new media and the public’s interest in reporting on all manner of government including matters touching on national security which lie at the heart of this case."
The Justice Dept.'s blatant bid to intimidate the media and put the fear of God into the hearts of potential federal government whistleblowers fits nicely with the Obama administration's obsession with secrecy.
It also dovetails with the administration tendency to say one thing while doing the opposite. The president, after all, once promised to run the most transparent government.
That has fallen by the wayside, just as his vows to close the Guantanamo prison camp, which shames America's standing in the world, to kill the Bush tax cuts, and the predictable approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will be a big sell-out of the environmental community.
Our aloof president with his holier-than-thou rhetoric attempts to float over the down-and-dirty aspects of political life.
Payback time has arrived.