Recent reports that the Obama Justice Department obtained two months’ worth of phone records of Associated Press reporters reveal a distressing pattern of executive overreach. Even more disturbing was the disclosure that the department investigated the reporting activities of Fox News chief Washington correspondent as a potential crime—solicitation of leaks.
A bipartisan group of House members have proposed a Telephone Records Protection Act, which would require the government to obtain court approval before requesting telephone records from service providers. As The Nation’s editors wrote, this act would create a “baseline standard for protecting the privacy of every American, including the reporters, imperfect as they may be, who arm the citizenry with the power which knowledge gives.” Write your representatives now and implore them to take this vital step toward protecting Americans’ privacy and democracy.
As The Nation editorialized this week, “Prosecution of whistleblowers, dragnet seizure of phone records, the threatened criminalization of basic news-gathering—it’s dangerous for the media, and dangerous for democracy.”
After the announcement that the government had taken phone records from the Associated Press, it seemed to light a fire under normally docile White House reporters. This episode of The Young Turks breaks it down.