When you turn on your television news or open your newspaper, you expect to find an impartial account of the events unfolding in your neighborhood, state and nation.
That non-biased approach to news is the product of protecting a freedom of the press.
But what if government agencies were allowed to intimidate news agencies, their editors and reporters.
Such is a case that came to light this past week.
According to the Associated Press, the federal Justice Department – under the direction of President Obama appointee Attorney General Eric Holder – secretly obtained two months of telephone records of the organization’s editors and reporters.
The AP’s President and CEO Gary Pruitt called the action a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news gathering.
“We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news,” Pruitt wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.
We wholeheartedly agree.
Pruitt has demanded the return of the telephone records and destruction of all copies.
We believe Holder and the Obama Administration should act promptly to do as Pruitt says. And we’d go further to suggest any Justice Department employees involved in the harassment of the press should be removed from their respective jobs.
Call it what you want, but when government snoops in newsroom offices for information on who reporters and editors talk to, telephone numbers and more, it’s pure intimidation.
Unfortunately for residents, intimidation seems to be the name of the game under the Obama Administration. Just last week, the Internal Revenue Service admitted that it had used key words such as “Tea Party” and “patriot” to search for and flag non-profit groups.
Confirmation of two such major abuses of power in less than a week should be a warning to all U.S. citizens that the Constitution is under attack by the very people we rely on to uphold it.
But when government has become so aggressive its officials believe they can, it’s time to change the rules, and most likely the officials interpreting them.
We cannot allow our government to operate so nonchalantly out of constitutional bounds.