The somewhat left-leaning Politico announced Saturday that “reporters say there’s a chill in the air.” A fog of distrust has descended upon Foggy Bottom, affecting the press, the White House and Obama administration sources.
Relationships slowly began sinking a month ago with the confirmation that the White House had repeatedly lied about Benghazi. The fall accelerated when the Justice Department covertly seized the Associated Press’ telephone records. The fall finally reached terminal velocity with the snooping of a Fox News report’s private emails using a search warrant obtained by claiming that the reporter was a “flight risk” and an “aider, abetter or co-conspirator” in criminal activity.
Government sources, once open and reliable, have suddenly dried up, according to the Politico report.
“I had one former intel officer say, ‘I hope you’re buying ‘burner’ phones for your sources,’ but I think he may have been pulling my leg,” said David Ignatius, the Washington Post’s national security columnist.
The recent revelation that the National Security Agency has been collecting phone records, emails and Internet usage on all Americans for years has sent the White House scrambling to plug up leaks they don’t want disclosed.
Politico’s Dylan Byers noted:
Some formerly forthcoming sources have grown reluctant to return phone calls, even on unclassified matters, and, when they do talk, prefer in-person conversations that leave no phone logs, no emails, and no records of entering and leaving buildings, reporters and watchdogs said.
Now the press and the administration are left suspiciously eyeing one another like two gunslingers on Main Street at high noon, each waiting for the other to make the next move. And to this I say bravo. It’s about time. The press was never meant to cozy up to the government — that defeats its purpose.
The press is supposed to be the chief governmental watchdog, and to that end, it and the government were meant to be in a constant adversarial relationship. So, if everyone in Washington has suddenly “lost that loving feeling,” that’s a god thing. Ed Henry at Fox News can use the company.
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