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A Struggle for Balance Between Journalists and Government

by on October 28, 2013

I recently came across an article from the Guardian concerning Obama’s overwhelming efforts to conceal national security leaks, which apparently has been the most apparent since the Nixon administration.

This surprised me, especially after watching the Frontline “News War” specials in class, highlighting many of the difficulties journalists dealt with while the Bush administration was around.

Instead of being more open with the press, Obama has actually become more aggressive, even stepping up the Espionage Act. In addition, this article reports that the Justice Department “secretly subpoenaed” and seized records for telephones lines and switchboards from the AP.

The struggle for balance between the government and journalists seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout continuing history. The journalists want to play ‘watchdog’ to check on the power in the government. However, the government often distrusts the journalists to release ‘harmful’ information and put the people and country of the U.S. in danger.

If future presidents can remove themselves from this cycle of snooping and cover-up, hopefully journalists will have protection rights for themselves and their sources in order to be able to do their job.

Malea Ritz

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2 Comments
  1. Kayla permalink

    I really enjoyed reading this article. The fact that even in 2013 and with our history (which includes Watergate and Pentagon Papers) that our American government can still be so unsupportive of the press and journalist responsibility.

    It is interesting to read how government accountability is unbounded when journalists are afraid to speak out against it. It’s journalists responsibility to inform the public on facts that concern their lives. This includes privacy issues, war concerns and other problems. Leaking classified information can be extremely important information the general public needs to know.

    Journalists are not only being subpoenaed for their information but also are not getting information from the government to begin with. When it comes to the truth and politics, how are we able to stay informed without the governments cooperation. To me, it just seems like a shady way to govern: not give out answers to journalists questions and go after anyone that tries to find out information on their own. It is a poor representation of our governments power and the ability to silence the press.

  2. seafeezle permalink

    Watching News Wars as well as having some other discussions in class have really made me realize that this country suffers from a serious case of societal indifference. I can’t help but feel as if a large majority of Americans just don’t care. Not just about this, but about many major issues plaguing our society (homelessness; class inequalities; expensive higher ed). It’s hegemony run amok.

    Most of us young journalists will continue to vote for presidential candidates that will most likely continue using unethical force against journalists trying to keep power in check. We’re voting for our own aggressors, essentially. And why? Because doing so is the “lesser of two evils”?

    Besides defending the first amendment and the unique positions of American journalists in relation to the law, what other actions can we take before we are forced silent?

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