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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/15/13

The Major Sea Change In Media Discussions Of Obama And Civil Liberties

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Source: The Guardian

The controversies over the IRS and especially the AP phone records appear to have long-lasting effects


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President Barack Obama Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Due to the controversies over the IRS and (especially) the DOJ's attack on AP's news gathering process, media outlets have suddenly decided that President Obama has a very poor record on civil liberties, transparency, press freedoms, and a whole variety of other issues on which he based his first campaign. The first two paragraphs of this Washington Post article from yesterday, expressed in tones of recent epiphany, made me laugh audibly:

"President Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer who came to office pledging renewed respect for civil liberties, is today running an administration at odds with his resume and preelection promises.

"The Justice Department's collection of journalists' phone records and the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups have challenged Obama's credibility as a champion of civil liberties -- and as a president who would heal the country from damage done by his predecessor."

You don't say! The Washington Post's breaking news here is only about four years late. Back in mid-2010, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, speaking about Obama's civil liberties record at a progressive conference, put it this way: "I'm disgusted with this president." In the spirit of optimism, one can adopt a "better-late-than-never" outlook regarding this newfound media awakening.

As a result of the last week, there is an undeniable and quite substantial sea change in how the establishment media is thinking and speaking about Obama. The ultimate purveyors of Beltway media conventional wisdom (CW), Politico's Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei, published an article yesterday headlined "DC turns on Obama," writing that "the town is turning on President Obama -- and this is very bad news for this White House" and "reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration." 

The Washington Post's political reporter, Dan Balz, another CW bellwether, wrote that these controversies "reflect questions about the administration that predate the revelations of the past few days." About the AP story, Balz wrote that "no one can recall anything as far-reaching as what the Justice Department apparently did in secretly gathering information about the work of AP journalists."

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