Journalists Complain: Obama Administration 'Control Freaks'

Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 10:01 AM

By Elliott Jager

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The work of journalists in the United States has become more difficult because of the Obama administration's aggressive anti-leak crusade that has "chilled certain kinds of reporting," Joel Simon, director of the Committee to Protect Journalists says.

Government tactics are increasingly impeding journalists' work and if unchecked could endanger our democracy, Simon warned.

Though it has been in business for decades, the Committee to Protect Journalists will on October 10 issue its first comprehensive report ever – "The Obama Administration and the Press" – focusing on press freedom conditions inside the United States.

Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of The Washington Post, previewed the Committee to Protect Journalists Report in a Post opinion article on Friday.

Downie quotes David E. Sanger of the New York Times Washington bureau as saying, "This is most closed, control-freak administration I've ever covered."

"Will Obama recognize that all this threatens his often-stated but unfulfilled goal of making government more transparent and accountable? None of the Washington news media veterans I talked to were optimistic," Downie concludes.

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson told a New York audience Saturday: "It's just a fact that the Obama administration has initiated seven criminal leak investigations which is more than double the number of these investigations in all of the previous administrations combined, so that's a large increase," she said.

"Having been Washington bureau chief, having lots of detailed conversations with our reporters who cover national security there is no argument whether these investigations have a chilling effect. It's made the normal discourse between journalists and government officials very tamped down and uncomfortable," Politico quoted her as saying.

Related stories:

Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case

Obama Campaign Tried to Stop Info Leaks in 2012

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