Monday, May 20, 2013

The Media Should Take A Lesson From the Fable of The Scorpion + The Frog

I was outside for a little bit yesterday. I was sweating like Pres. Obama at a press conference...Leno.
The last joke has been seized by the Department of Justice...Leno

The Fable Every Journalist Should Become Acquainted With:

A scorpion once asked a frog to carry him across the river. But the frog was scared the scorpion would sting him on the trip and both would drown. But the frog agreed and began carrying the scorpion on his back while wading across the river. Half-way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. When the frog asked the scorpion why he stung it, the scorpion replied it's just his nature. 

Be it for me to defend the presstitute media but after hearing the news today that the feds targeted yet another reporter; it really came as no big surprise to me, nor should it come as a surprise to anyone else.

Fox News reporter, James Rosen (and two other Fox staff members), was targeted for some alleged leaks to him from State Department security advisor Stephen Kim. What's even more troubling is Rosen's personal emails were reportedly targeted as well as his phone records. This, of course, is reminiscent of what DOJ did to the Associated Press.

From what I've heard and read so far, it's not a crime for reporters to classified information with the exception of rare circumstances. In addition, the Code of Federal Regulations placed restrictions on the government from the seizure of media records. First Amendment attorney Charles Tobin told the Washington Post this is a very dangerous road for the government to go down.

Even the Huffington Post, in their piece today---"DOJ Targeting Of Fox News Reporter James Rosen Risks Criminalizing Journalism." The piece points out that Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator by the Justice Department for simply doing his job as a reporter. Fox News VP Michael Clemente said Fox will unequivocally defend Rosen.

This story is just developing so we'll see how it unravels---if it does--in the next few days.

But regardless of what happens, it reminded me of the fable of the scorpion and the frog. In this case, the frog is the media. After five years of covering for Mr. Obama, it appears they too are getting stung.  And, as even USA Today reported last week, the quest to plug leaks yields a torrent of abuse by the government.  In fact, they began their opinion piece with this: "Another day, another excessive use of government power by the Obama administration."

Americans should  also be concerned about these reports. It appears this administration is doing a frontal assault on the First Amendment. It's flagrant intrusion on records, phone calls (including cellphones) and emails is chilling. For example, who will want to speak to reporters now if the sources feel the phone calls and emails of the reporters are monitored by the government?

Right now, there does not appear to be any direct link to Pres. Obama that suggests he ordered these attacks on the media (including the IRS attacks on only conservative groups). But will these developments spur them to try to connect the dots? Again, only time will tell. One thing is clear: the appearance of the abuse of power stinks to high heaven.  Just ask the frog.