Nick Gilespie covers Obama’s War on Journalism

What we really need is a president who lives by the Constitution more than he nods to it.”

Because they tend to share his broad outlook on politics, too many journalists for too long have been in the tank for Obama, explaining away or minimizing his policy failures and reversals. Remember Obama’s heartfelt insistence that he would run the most transparent administration ever? Take a look at this document about warrantless searches of text messages that his administration finally coughed up to the ACLU and get back to me. It’s 15 pages of completely redacted prose. Such a document would be funny if it wasn’t coming from a secrecy-obsessed administration that has put the brakes on fulfilling FOIA requests and has charged a record number of people under the Espionage Act.

Then there’s Obama’s cherished belief in his inalienable right to scrag anyone he thinks was connected to the 9/11 attacks or al Qaeda or is otherwise a threat to the good old U.S. of A. Even George W. Bush never wandered into that constitutionally swampy territory—and he was worse than Hitler, Richard Nixon, and Larry the Cable Guy put together, right? Yet it took a 13-hour filibuster by the libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to get a simple—and still squirrely!—answer to whether the administration thinks it has the authority to dispatch death drones against citizens on U.S. soil.

And take a quick look at the differences between Senator Obama and President Obama when it comes to war-making power, a split that’s starker than any found in the old Highlights for Children feature Goofus and Gallant. “The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” That was Senator Obama, of course. President Obama not only unilaterally dispatched forces to Libya (hello, Benghazi!), he didn’t even bother to follow up 90 days later with a request for authorization, as specified under the War Powers Act. Thanks to his imperial attitude toward the press, journalists are finally taking notice that Obama’s rhetoric is strikingly at odds with his actions. In his recent press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan—a pioneer in treating journalists like criminals—Obama commented on the AP probe, stressing his belief in “a free press, free expression, and the open flow of information [that] helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable, and helps our democracy function.”


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