In a “Face the Nation” interview about the Department of Justice investigating journalists, The New York Times’ Jill Abramson said “the process of newsgathering is being criminalized.”
The First Amendment is first for a reason. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison thought it was crucial for our country to have a free and robust press to help keep the government accountable. And that’s the job that Times reporters and other reporters here in Washington are trying so hard to do.
Abramson said she’s not sure people outside of Washington, D.C., are as concerned with the leak investigation as they are with other political issues, such as rising health care costs and the economy. But, she said, some important people have gotten involved:
It’s not only journalists or politicians who are raising this issue. Two of the judges in these leak cases have criticized the overzealous procedures that the Justice Department has used against reporters. And the reporters who work for the Times in Washington have told me that many of their sources are petrified to even return calls at this point.
Bob Woodward, who was a guest on the show with Abramson, said this isn’t just a journalism or legal issue; it’s “a practical issue” for the Obama administration.
It’s all very troubling. And you lump all these things — the IRS, Benghazi, and this together and what you’ve got is a feeling that no one’s coming clean, that we aren’t getting straight talk. And this goes to President Obama. He’s got to find a way to unravel this. We live in an age of distrust. I think it’s more severe now, and he has to come find some way to clean this up and say, this is what happened, this is what it means. So people will say, ah, a member at the beginning of his administration, he got involved — a mistake with Senator Daschle, and Barack Obama as President came out and said, I screwed up. If that’s happened, we need to hear it again.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Tom Brokaw said that “the burden is on both the government and the press.”
NBC and The New York Times were among the news organizations that did not attend an off-the-record meeting last week with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.