Tuesday, April 25, 2017
It's White House Correspondents' dinner time: Why aren't media at the table?
This year there will be fewer cocktail parties, fewer exclusive invitations. It's a strong reaction to a president who, in spite of all his anti-media tough talk, hasn't actually done anything like what his predecessor did to curb press freedoms...
It's a strong reaction to a president who, in spite of all his anti-media tough talk, hasn't actually done anything like what his predecessor did to curb press freedoms.
The Trump administration hasn't, for example, subpoenaed reporters in an effort to get them to reveal their sources. Nor has it secretly collected reporters' phone records. Nor set new records for denying Freedom of Information Act requests.
These distinctions go to Obama, whose two terms in office included several real infringements on the press.
In February 2011, for example, federal investigators were revealed to have spied on the New York Times' James Risen. They were attempting to determine whether he was the recipient of leaked CIA information. Investigators went through Risen's credit reports and his personal bank records, and they obtained information about his phone calls and travel, according to a motion filed in a federal court.
In April of that year, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Bloomberg hosted WHCA parties as if nothing had happened.
So did People and Time magazine....
Later, in May 2013, the Associated Press revealed the Justice Department had secretly collected two months' worth of personal and work-related phone calls made by AP reporters and editors.
The Justice Department secretly obtained records on incoming and outgoing calls made by specific AP journalists, as well as general news staff, the news group reported. Federal investigators even collected data on calls made by AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.
That same year, the Justice Department labeled Fox News reporter James Rosen a "criminal co-conspirator" under the Espionage Act of 1917 in relation to a case involving possibly leaked classified information. Federal investigators tried to gain access to Rosen's personal emails and phone records.
The Justice Department went so far as to monitor the Fox News reporter's visits to the State Department, including tracing his phone calls and attempting to review his personal emails. Rosen was even labeled a "flight risk."
None of these things deterred Vanity Fair, Bloomberg, Time, People or the New Yorker from throwing WHCA parties in 2014....
The same year Lizza tweeted about standing next to actresses, the Obama administration set a record for denying the most Freedom of Information Act requests of any administration. The Obama administration did it again in 2015. The same groups that are forgoing their normal WHCA festivities now that Trump is president were apparently undisturbed by this, because they went ahead with their parties anyway in 2015 and in 2016....