Recent Department of Justice (DOJ) actions against two media organizations show that the Obama administration is willing to trample over press freedom and the First Amendment rights of journalists. These are serious attacks on the media to investigate freely, and for us to read what we want about the government. They go well beyond where previous administrations dared to tread, including the much-criticized Bush White House. James Goodale, a First Amendment lawyer who represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, says “President Obama will surely pass President Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.”
First, it was revealed that the DOJ filed a secret subpoena and obtained two months of phone records – including home phones and cell phones - from Associated Press (AP) reporters and editors without notifying them. The DOJ was apparently seeking to identify the person who leaked information about a terror plot in Yemen that was foiled by the CIA.
Next, on Monday we learned that DOJ investigated James Rosen, Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, for a 2009 article about North Korea. The government was using Rosen to build a case against State Department contractor Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who allegedly told Rosen that North Korea might respond to UN sanctions with more nuclear tests. The DOJ tracked Rosen’s movements and contacts, and obtained a warrant to search his personal email account, as well as accessing records of calls to and from a phone number at Fox News Channel. Most chillingly, in the request to a federal judge for permission to access Mr. Rosen’s emails, the DOJ argued that “There is probable cause to believe that the Reporter [Rosen] has committed or is committing a violation” of the Espionage Act of 1917, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” Although Rosen was not charged, the implication was that he was acting as a criminal “co-conspirator” of a spy ring – for simply asking questions and writing about what he learned.
The background to the stories is that the DOJ has pursued leak investigations more aggressively than others before it. To give an idea of how remarkable the Obama administration’s campaign against leaks has been: between the Espionage Act’s introduction in 1917 and the end of the George W. Bush administration, the Act had been invoked only three times, while the Obama administration has already indicted six officials under the Act.
There are many problems with the administration’s heavy-handed approach. It is sweeping in scope, a “fishing expedition” as they say, that can reveal private information about hundreds if not thousands of people. Team Obama is clearly trying to scare any would-be whistle-blowers. Lucy Dalglish, dean of journalism school at the University of Maryland, says: “The message is loud and clear that if you work for the federal government and talk to a reporter that we will find you.” It is hard to imagine doing investigative reporting about government itself without having any sources. So much for the Transparency President. Continue reading→
Read my spiked article in full here.
"Boston: More like Sandy Hook than 9/11," New Republic, by John B. Judis [Interview with Olivier Roy]
"More than dependency," National Review, by Yuval Levin
"Reinhart, Rogoff, and how the macroeconomic sausage is made," Harvard Business Review, by Justin Fox
"The many faces of neo-Marxism," The National Interest, by Walter Laqueur
"Relationships are more important than ambition," The Atlantic, by Emily Esfahani Smith
"American football industry is on its deathbed," Chicago Tribune, by John Kass
Read my spiked article in full here.
"Woodward at war," Politico, by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei
"To create growth, unleash the invisible foot," Reuters, by Reihan Salam
"America's red state growth corridors," Wall Street Journal, by Joel Kotkin
"Before greed: Americans didn't always yearn for riches," Boston Review, by Richard White
"The new mommy wars," USA Today, by Joanne Bamberger
"Worried about bullying? Be more worried about government 'fixes'," Real Clear Politics, by Heather Wilhelm
"The benefits of optimism are real," The Atlantic, by Emily Esfahani Smith
"Godless yet good," Aeon, by Troy Jollimore
Christopher Lasch was a fearless iconoclast who defied left and right labels. Love him or loathe him, you need to grapple with his ideas if you want to understand today’s big political and moral debates.
Read my review of Eric Miller's Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch, published in the spiked review of books, here.
Read my spiked article in full here.
"Why Obama is giving up on right-leaning whites," National Journal, by Ronald Brownstein
"My plan to fix the world's biggest problems," Wall Street Journal, by Bill Gates
"How the South will rise to power again," Forbes, by Joel Kotkin
"Why Apple is losing its aura," Fast Company, by Bruce Nussbaum
"Is Dr. Oz doing more harm than good?" The New Yorker, by Michael Specter
"A wealth of words: the key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary," City Journal, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
"Ai Weiwei: wonderful dissident, terrible artist," New Republic, by Jed Perl
For the past year or so, Walter Russell Mead has written extensively on The American Interest website about the steady disintegration of the post-New Deal social order, which he calls the "blue social model". Mead, a professor at Bard College and a prolific blogger, argues that we cling to old notions, even as our economy and society have irrevocably changed.
In his latest instalment, "Futuristic blues," Mead writes about how today's liberal leaders have a "darker and more elitist vision", which is "much more pessimistic than liberalism...was in its prime." The difference between the old and new liberalism is highlighted by their contrasting views of the masses. First, regarding the older liberal elites:
These earlier generations believed that liberal politics would uplift the common people over time—and that the common people were on a rising historical trajectory....Thanks to the enlightened leadership of gentry liberals, the common people would become better educated, more politically aware, more economically productive and more able to take their fate into their own hands. The liberal tradition is one in which elites, very much aware of their privilege and not at all inclined to throw it away, justify their privilege by linking it to a political program aimed at, in the long run, making a less privileged society.
Today's liberal elite share the same sense as their predecessors that they are guiding national development, however, according to Mead, "what’s changed is that the blue elite no longer sees a bright future for the masses." This pessimism is tied to lower expectations about the potential for economic growth to create jobs and lift the masses. Instead, liberals imagine the economy continuing along its current path (which would continue to benefit industries such as finance, hi-tech, media and entertainment - all big Democratic party supporters), and they worry that inequality will continue or worsen.
The key development is that the "rise of the common people" has come to an end, writes Mead: Continue reading→
“Go for the throat!: Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican party,” Slate, by John Dickerson [plus, read Dickerson's response to his critics]
“The liberal hour,” New York Times, by Ross Douthat
“Liberalism and freedom,” Washington Monthly, by Ed Kilgore