For years, many news reporters, journalists, and networks have stood against the government because the government is supposedly limiting and controlling the truth. Freedom of the press has always been thought to be attacked. For example, many conservatives believe Fox News is the only news network not controlled by liberal parties ergo why they report some of the things they report. Michael Hastings – one of the most thorough and outspoken journalists of our time – is theorized to have been killed by the government because of his reports on Bowe Bergdahl. Even here on The Inquisitr, we reported on situations in which governments control what news says. A good example is Sarah Firth, who left Russia Today because she was told to spread positive lies about Vladimir Putin.
Now there are reports coming in of another man who is standing up against the government in the name of press freedom. This time, the threat isn’t just any government group, it is a specific person: the president of the United States of America.
According to an article by the Huffington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter, James Risen, is showing no cowardice when he proclaimed that Barack Obama is the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation. For the past six years, Risen has been legally fighting the Obama Administration’s efforts to force him to break confidentiality of his news sources through testifying in court. One such legal battle was when the Department of Justice ordered Risen to testify against former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, who is assumed to have leaked information about a failed CIA. operation in Iran, something written in Risen’s book. Unfortunately for Sterling, Risen lost his bid for the Supreme Court to revisit the case.
While speaking with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Risen gave his views about Barack Obama pertaining to free press:
“How can he [Obama] use the Espionage Act to throw reporters and whistle-blowers in jail eve as he defends the intelligence operatives who ‘tortured some folks,’ and coddles his C.I.A. chief, John Brennan, who spied on the Senate and then lied to the senators he spied on about it?”
James Risen summarized the words and actions of Barack Obama into one simple word: hypocritical. He then continued on with his written statement in which he wrote:
“A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
In another article by the Guardian, it is reported that the government’s pursuit after James Risen didn’t start with the Obama Administration, but the one before them. Under the Bush Administration, the Justice Department tried to prosecute Risen for under the Espionage Act for his scoop about illegal wiretapping of American citizens after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. As for the current case he is in, campaigning groups for press freedom handed a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the Justice Department, wanting the case against James Risen to be dropped.
Now that you’ve heard that Barack Obama is considered to be the greatest enemy to press freedom, we want to know what you think? Do you believe that Obama (along with the government in general) is limiting and controlling what can and cannot be reported in the press? Or do you think James Risen is overstepping boundaries and the government as the right to take legal action? Please let us know in the comments below.