Right On: Obama’s media attacks empower Trump

Composite from image by JJPan / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION – What goes around comes around. Yet another Obama misstep has empowered Donald Trump, the Democrat’s worst nightmare.

Like all presidents before him, Obama repeatedly complained about biased media coverage. He openly singled out several of his most outspoken critics in an attempt to shame them and to rally the public to his side. He excluded certain media companies from accompanying him as he traveled.

Angered by administration leaks, Obama directed the FBI to monitor telephone and internet communications of reporters who published leaked information. Obama sought contempt-of-court findings against these reporters, threatening to jail several unless they revealed their sources. He instituted widespread and secret National Security Agency monitoring of all domestic communications to catch leakers.

If all this is news to you, it’s because the liberal media chose to play down Obama’s repressive side.

Obama came into office promising history’s most open and transparent administration. (Then again he made a lot of promises he didn’t keep once in office. Remember “reach across the aisle” and “unite all Americans” during his campaign, followed by stiff-arming Republicans during his first two years?)

But breaking the transparency promise produced a schizophrenic reaction in the mainstream media that had served as his cheerleaders. Those directly affected are bitter. The rest have chosen to put that behind them now that they are leading “The Resistance” to #notmypresident.

Obama clung to claims of openness, pointing to administration websites containing information he was willing to release. Meanwhile Obama admonished administration officials to be circumspect with the media. Reporters covering the White House responded that these sites contained only what the administration wanted the public to see and closed-mouthed officials said next to nothing. Reporters were unable to do their jobs finding the story behind the story, even with an administration that generally had their enthusiastic support.

Shaken by the massive Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning classified information breaches, Obama stepped up his paranoid media distrust. He initiated nine separate criminal prosecutions against both government employees and reporters using the 1917 Espionage Act. That is three times as many as all prior presidents combined.

A number of mainstream media reporters and journalists stated their extreme frustration with the veil of secrecy Obama attempted to place around his administration. A few examples from reliably liberal newspapers will convey their message:

This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered.

David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.

Obama’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information was “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.

– Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of The Washington Post who now teaches at Arizona State University.

Obama’s attorney general repeatedly allowed the F.B.I. to use intrusive measures against reporters more often than any time in recent memory.

– Dana Priest, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post.

Now with Trump in office, liberal media attack dogs are out in force. A number of high profile journalists have announced media’s rebirth as guardians of our freedom.

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove declares, “Journalism as an institution has reasserted itself. Big time.” He’s silent on what they were doing for the last eight years.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof vows that the media will be “watchdogs, not lap dogs.” Kristof unwittingly admits that mainstream media “lap dogs” failed the public during the Obama years. He acknowledges that most mainstream media coverage of Obama’s presidency consisted of incessant fawning over their liberal darling.

Since liberal reporters agreed with most of Obama’s far-left policies, most appear willing to repress their memories of his war on leaks and reporters.

Obama once again set an example for the Trump administration. Democrats who failed to object strenuously then have only themselves to blame if Trump uses these same tools and then some.

In a previous “Right On” column, I discussed how Obama’s unconstitutional and unlawful executive orders paved the way for Trump’s expansive use of executive orders. In another column, I discussed the ramifications of Obama encouraging the then Democratic-controlled Senate to eliminate the filibuster, giving today’s Republicans a free rein in approving Trump appointees.

To those political mistakes made for short-term political gain, add Obama’s obsessive secrecy and penchant for prosecuting both leakers and reporters. Trevor Timm, executive director of the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation, said, “Obama has laid all the groundwork Trump needs for an unprecedented crackdown on the press.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter bragged that “investigative journalism created the conditions” that drove National Security Advisor Michael Flynn from his job. In response, Trump has confiscated staff cellphones and sent the FBI to uncover the source of the leak.

Will he prosecute? If he does, Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism school, says “Obama handed him a road map.”

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • Brian March 2, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Thanks. I really enjoy your articles. Common sense, documented with references.

  • high5 March 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Boy This is Good! You sure Know how to kick Ed in the Butt!!! I hope ole Ed Reads this. LMAO

  • Utahguns March 2, 2017 at 9:13 am

    In “Oscar-speak” terms, Obama handed Trump the “right” envelope.
    The press needs a good butt-whipping. They’ve fostered the growth of journailstic deceit where growing numbers of Americans will not listen.

  • comments March 2, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Obongo and his media are tyrants.

  • comments March 2, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I still can’t figure out why the leftists have allied themselves with moslems. Moslems are the most illiberal, backward, repressive thinking hoard you will find on earth.

    • .... March 2, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Hey Bob why don’t you write a letter to your reelected Republican Governor I’m sure he cares what you think

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