For the last year and a half, and perhaps even a bit longer in some cases, it’s from the left that we’ve heard nothing but whining as well as accusations of every sort about how it is that President Trump has maligned those poor folks in our state-controlled media. We have continually been told how it is that this president specifically is nothing short of a “threat to the freedom of the press.” Yet oddly enough all of those now accusing President Trump of attacking the media seem to be suffering from a case of selective amnesia when it comes to another recent president who actually did pose a very real threat to freedom of the press.
And of course it is of Barry ‘O’ of whom I speak. A guy who, during a recent speech at the University of Illinois, said, “It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because — they say things or publish stories we don’t like.” And it was then that he went on to say, “I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them ‘enemies of the people.’” Barry certainly had his issues with Fox News. Newsweek actually described the conflict between them as “a war.” But to be honest, Barry’s war with the media wasn’t limited only to Fox News.
In fact, Barry’s treatment of the media was so bad that even New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan criticized him in 2013 for what she called “unprecedented secrecy and unprecedented attacks on a free press.” And it was David E. Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The Times, who said of Barry’s administration, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” According to a report on press freedoms by the highly respected Committee to Protect Journalists, “In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press.”
And it’s hard to imagine, given how it was that so many of our so-called ‘journalists’ perceived Barry as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, that his administration would have been so antagonistic toward those in the press. But the evidence that he was a true enemy of our ‘free press’ is nothing short of astounding, all one has to do is to look. Those in left-leaning media of today who insist upon calling President Trump’s attacks on the media unprecedented, conveniently ignore all that took place during Barry’s eight year reign in the White House. So as a refresher here are five examples of Barry’s attacks committed against our ‘free’ press:
- Manipulating media coverage: While media was generally very positive toward Barry ‘O’, he wasn’t willing to risk losing control in an interview while he was running for reelection should a ‘journalist’ actually try to ask a tough question. To solve this problem, Barry only went to local media outlets to do interviews.
Why does this matter? Well, the reason is control. National media outlets would not be so open to ground rules for interviews. But local media outlets were another story. Local news stations don’t often get the opportunity to interview the president of the United States and are far more willing to agree to ground rules, such as establishing what topics can be discussed or what questions can’t be asked.
Barry was clearly more comfortable when he could dictate the terms of an interview. By August 2012, Barry had done fifty-eight local media interviews, but only eight national media interviews.
- Proposed government monitors in newsrooms: The Constitution protects freedom of the press because a free press is a check on the power of our elected leaders. Barry didn’t want this check, not on his watch, and made many efforts to rein it in. Early in his second term, Barry’s FCC proposed a new program that would have put FCC agents in media newsrooms “to determine how stories were selected, whether there was bias in reporting,” and whether “critical information needs” were being met. These monitors would be placed not only in broadcast newsrooms, but also print media outlets that the FCC had no regulatory authority over. Because the FCC controls licensing of broadcast media, these monitors would have been effective intimidation tools… a constant reminder to the media that if the government didn’t like what you were saying, your license to broadcast could be revoked.
Who knows what would have happened had it not been for FCC commissioner Ajit Pai (now chairman under President Trump), who exposed the existence of the proposed program in 2014, causing outrage and the eventual scrapping of the program.
- Threatening journalists for negative coverage: After trying to blame Republicans for so-called sequestration budget “cuts,” Barry was less than thrilled when ‘journalist’ Bob Woodward wrote both in his book, ‘The Price of Politics’, and in an early 2013 opinion piece in The Washington Post that automatic spending cuts had been proposed by the White House and personally approved and signed into law by Barry ‘O’. Less than a week after the piece ran, Woodward revealed that a senior White House official warned him he would “regret” calling Barry out for his role in the sequester. After Woodward revealed his experience, other ‘journalists’ came forward with similar stories.
Ron Fournier, the former editor-in-chief of National Journal, said of Barry’s administration: “I received several emails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat.” Lanny Davis, ‘Slick Willy’ Clinton’s longtime advisor and now lawyer to Michael Cohen, also came forward with claims he had received similar threats for unflattering pieces he wrote about Barry in the Washington Times. Liberal ‘journalist’ Jonathan Alter said he’d been subjected to abusive treatment from Barry’s administration for writing something they didn’t like. “There is a kind of threatening tone that, from time to time — not all the time — comes out of these guys,” he said. A young female reporter was called crude names in an email for merely asking important questions of a Barry ‘O’ cabinet secretary.
- Spying on the media: If threatening ‘journalists’ for asking tough questions and writing unflattering articles isn’t bad enough, all I can say is that it gets worse. Barry & Co. actually spied on the media. Less than six months into Barry’s second term we learned that his Justice Department secretly obtained two months of phone records of AP reporters and editors. What was Barry & Co. after? They wouldn’t say, but Gary Pruitt, the president and CEO of the Associated Press, had an idea:
He said, “These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”
Similarly, the Justice Department secretly obtained then-Fox News reporter James Rosen’s phone records, tracked his movements, and read his emails while investigating possible leaks of classified information to Rosen for an article on North Korea’s nuclear program. One consequence of Barry &Co.’s spying was that longtime sources stopped talking to the Associated Press and other news organizations.
- Trying to jail journalists and whistleblowers: For all of President Trump’s mean words and use of the term “fake news,” I think we can all agree that such things aren’t nearly as bad as threatening and spying on journalists, right? Do you still think Barry ‘O’ was an advocate of the free press? What if I told you he actually tried to put journalists in jail, for simply doing their jobs! The aforementioned James Rosen, who was subjected to spying Barry & Co., was also threatened with jail time when Barry’s Justice Department labeled him a “co-conspirator” with one of his sources who was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for leaking the information to Rosen. Another ‘journalist,’ James Risen of the New York Times, was similarly treated as a co-conspirator with a government source indicted by Barry & Co. under the Espionage Act. Risen was subpoenaed, and originally compelled to testify against one of his sources.
Barry & Co. used the Espionage Act six times in eight years to go after government sources, more than double the number of all previous administrations combined. Risen would later describe Barry & Co. as “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”
Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive director of the Washington Post, said “the administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”
I’m of the opinion that a good analogy for the press would be to say it’s like that woman who keeps going back to the significant other even though he continues to mistreat her. Barry hated the press, and yet they did provide service. They repeatedly lied for him. They were absolutely giddy in his ‘God-like’ presence. And in the end, the public actually realized that the press doesn’t report ‘news.’ They now take anything that happens and spin it against Trump. He gets 92% negative coverage, yet somehow still manages to get 44 to 48% favorability ratings. The majority of this country hates the media and so now pays little or no attention to them.
Barry tended to strike out only at those in the press who dared to tell the truth about his deception. Hence his war against Fox News. President Trump strikes out at our ‘fake news’ media for lying about him, for spreading misinformation and disinformation for no other reason than because they don’t like him. Today those in our so-called ‘free press’ tend to operate more like members of a state-run propaganda machine not unlike Pravda. I would strongly recommend to my fellow citizens that they do their homework like a lot of folks are now doing. It’s not hard to put the pieces together if you don’t prejudge the content.
The press hates President Trump because he happens to be ONLY one of few Republicans who possesses the requisite gonads to call the ‘fake news’ media exactly what it is. The fact is those who comprise our ‘fake news’ media spend 90 percent of their time trying to take down our duly elected president after spending 90 percent of their time kissing Barry’s ass. Why should it be seen as acceptable for the media to tell non-stop lies about him? And why is it that just because past Republican presidents have cowered before the media and tried to earn their love, does it mean that President Trump should continue that incredibly insane practice?