Associated Press: 8 ways Obama admin restricts press freedom

The Obama presidency began on a promise of being the most transparent administration ever.

The reality, however, turns out to be quite different. Instead of transparency, the Obama administration is opaque and hostile to the Constitution’s First Amendment promise of a free press.

Sally Buzbee

Sally Buzbee

The Daily Signal reports on Oct. 3, 2014 that at a recent joint meeting of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers, the Associated Press’ Washington Bureau chief Sally Buzbee detailed eight ways the Obama administration is restricting access to information.

1. Journalists are barred from seeing the fight against Islamic militants: Buzbee contends Americans are being kept in the dark about recent military action, noting that journalists aren’t allowed to take photos or record video of bombers when they take off.

2. Journalists often are barred from Obama’s meetings with world leaders: Buzbee says previous administrations advocated for journalists to be present during the president’s meetings with world leaders when he is abroad. This change, she says, sends the wrong message to the rest of the world.

3. Access to upcoming 9/11 trial is restricted: Journalists do not have access to court filings in real time, Buzbee says, and even access to nonclassified information about the trial has been blocked or delayed.

4. Coverage of Guantanamo is ‘virtually nonexistent’: Information normally released by the previous administration is now nearly impossible to come by. “The military won’t release the number of prisoners on hunger strike or the number of assaults on guards,” Buzbee says.

5. Press sources are being intimidated: Sources have told Associated Press reporters they could be fired for talking to the media. Buzbee called the intimidation tactics “chilling,” adding: “Government press officials say their orders are to squelch anything controversial or that makes the administration look bad.”

6. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is ‘under siege’: FOIA requests have become so expensive and delayed that many organizations are forced to sue federal agencies to get a response at all.

7. The White House uses FOIA requests to monitor what news organizations will cover: Political appointees use FOIA requests as a “tip service” to gain insight into upcoming stories, Buzbee says. At the agency overseeing Obamacare, political appointees have been put in charge of FOIA requests.

8. State and local governments release less information: The Obama administration has tried to dictate to state and local governments what they can and cannot reveal, particularly when it comes to surveillance programs.

James Risen

James Risen

Months ago, on March 21, 2014, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times’ foreign policy reporter James Risen had called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation,” warning that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those who refuse to play along “will be punished.”

Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning investigative journalist and former CBS Washington bureau correspondent and occasional CBS Evening News substitute anchor, found out the hard way.

In May 2013, as she was doggedly pursuing the truth behind the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, someone hacked into her personal and work computers. The hacking was confirmed by CBS News.

On March 10, 2014, after 21 years with the network, Attkisson resigned from CBS News, reportedly due to frustration over what she perceived to be the network’s liberal bias and lack of dedication to investigative reporting. She is working on a book tentatively called Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington, on the difficulties of reporting critically about the administration.

Here she is warning about journalism’s dangerous trend:

See also:


13 responses to “Associated Press: 8 ways Obama admin restricts press freedom

  1. Some of these criticisms are valid, but some are not. #1 is totally off base. As a military officer, I know vital it is to maintain secrecy of things like troop movements and bomber take-offs. Advocating that the press be allowed to report on that sort of thing is not only stupid but perilously close to treason.

    Imagine the following news reports:

    1942 – This reporter has discovered that the Army Air Corps and Navy will soon launch a joint operation to bomb Tokyo in response to the Pearl Harbor attack. Between 12 and 18 B-25 medium bombers will be launched from the Carrier USS Hornet about 500 miles from the Japanese coast. The bomber will drop bombs on military targets in the Tokyo area and land in bases in China.

    Or this

    1 June 1944 – a source close to General Eisenhower’s office has confirmed that the main effort in the attack on German controlled France will consist of six to eight US and British divisions landing on the Normand peninsular south of Caen instead of in the Pas de Calais as had been expected. This attack will take place between 3 and 7 June.

    That’s what you will get if reporters allowed access to planned military maneuvers or actions in progress.


  2. Reblogged this on Fellowship of the Minds and commented:
    The Obama administration is falling apart before our eyes:
    1. The military has turned against the POS: his support among active service members has fallen to below 15%.
    2. The Secret Service and Homeland Security are both in disarray.
    3. Now the press is turning against Obama, the latest being the Associated Press.

    When, oh when, will this falling apart reach critical mass?


    • I find it interesting that two members of the group think that the Doolittle Raid and the D-day invasion should have been leaked to the press before they were executed.


      • rthurs,

        How do you know that:

        1. It’s “two members of the group” who dinked you?
        2. They dinked you because they “think that the Doolittle Raid and the D-day invasion should have been leaked to the press before they were executed”?

        I get dinked all the time on my other blog, the reasons for which are never crystal clear.

        Perhaps your comment was dinked because they perceive you as downplaying the Obama administration’s contempt for the First Amendment?


        • Gosh, rhurs, just noticed you now have a third thumbs-down! Must be another “member of the group” who “think that the Doolittle Raid and the D-day invasion should have been leaked to the press before they were executed”. [Sarc]


        • The First Amendment is very important to me. But I do believe that having reporters observing and reporting bombers taking off jeopardizes military security and the lives of the people on board those aircraft. There was a case a number of years ago where a TV station broadcast a live picture of a SWAT team entering a house through a non-obvious entry point. The criminals in the house were watching and ambushed the SWAT team, killing one and wounding several others. I do not want the lives of my fellow soldiers and air men put at risk so some reporter can get a “scoop.”

          Liked by 1 person

  3. If the US Armed Forces had been dealing with the same degree of Media oversight during WW-II,the results would have been much different,and FAR worse. Having the News Media in the midst of a war personalizes it to a point that it’s nearly impossible to fight effectively. A basic truth of war is that there WILL be innocents killed-a Country’s leaders MUST know and acknowledge this. Personalizing the battle,showing the innocents killed and their life stories virtually paralyzes those fighting it.


    • @truckjunkie and rthurs,

      What AP’s Buzbee said was “journalists are barred from seeing the fight against Islamic militants: Buzbee contends Americans are being kept in the dark about recent military action, noting that journalists aren’t allowed to take photos or record video of bombers when they take off.”

      I’m baffled how Buzbee’s words became the equivalent of “media oversight during WWII.” How is journalists taking photos of bombers when they take off the equivalent of “leaking the Doolittle Raid and the D-day invasion”? Buzbee says journalists are being kept completely in the dark about U.S. air bombing of the Islamic State. Do you favor that? — that the American people be kept “completely in the dark” about what this administration is doing vis-a-vis the Islamic State/ISIL?

      I don’t trust this administration. Why do you?


      • Buzbee is a fool and a liar. Apparently she doesn’t watch CNN. Almost every day, I saw video of bombers taking off and missiles being launched from US warships to attack ISIL. Granted, these were broadcast after the actual bombings occurred. This makes sense because the enemy already knew that the attack had taken place, so there was no security breach. Every day, I saw reports of when and where bombing attacks against ISIL had been carried out. Complete with maps and visual aids. Some included footage of damage on the ground. If Buzbee says that she is being kept “completely in the dark” it is because she has her head in a place that does not permit direct visualization of the news media.

        We are getting a lot more information about US/Allied bombings of ISIL targets than we ever got in Vietnam or the Gulf Wars.

        You know that I have an intense dislike of Obama and his bumbling administration. But I am far more concerned about the safety of my brothers and sisters in combat than I am about the ability of the media to broadcast “Live from Iraq” for no better purpose than the gratification of their own egos and the lure of ratings and/or newspaper sales.

        And I agree with most of Buzbee’s article for the most part.

        Liked by 1 person

        • rthurs,

          Since you note that “Almost every day, I saw video of bombers taking off and missiles being launched from US warships to attack ISIL,” then Buzbee was simply mistaken about her #1 point. Or it could be that because of her and other journalists’ protests, the Obama administration is allowing reporters to take photos and videos of those bombers, but broadcasted only after their launching. Calling her “a fool and a liar” is a bit much, don’t you think?


          • I saw bombers taking off and missiles being launched within hours of the first strike, there was never a situation AFAIK that the public was kept “completely in the dark” as she stated. I would not expect photos of bombers/missiles being launched until after the impact on the target areas.
            If she was expecting to show bomber takeoffs live in real time, she is indeed a fool. Obama has made many screw-ups in foreign policy, but keeping Americans in the dark about airstrikes is not one of them. This was the same policy as was in effect during Gulf Wars I and II. Showing launches only after impact on targets is a good policy, it protects the lives of American soldiers, airmen and sailors.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Imagine the impact of a 1940’s version of Peter Arnett broadcasting live TV pictures of German children with horrible burns resulting from Allied Air raids on Hamburg or Dresden. Or a live feed of Marines being mowed down on the beaches of Tarawa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rthurs666,
        When I read the article, I had assumed it was of recent attempts to air bombers/missiles, attacks on isis etc., we haven’t seen our Soldiers fighting isis even though we know there are boots on the ground. I took it as Obama was trying to keep a lid on the actual going on with our Soldiers right now. Of course, I may be completely wrong, it won’t be the first.

        I am 100% against the media showing maps of where our Soldiers are located before or even after an attack. Wasn’t it the idiot from Fox News years ago who put our Soldiers in danger in Iraq or some other ME country? Geraldo Rivera? Geez, can’t remember his proper name, I think he even had or has his own silly show on Fox. He’s a real winner. Thinks because he has been all over the world and doing it for so many years everyone should bow down to him. Unfortunately, he has spent a lot of time screwing up rather than doing any real and honest reporting. Anyways, he still doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and to me that is a really dangerous attitude for a reporter.

        Anything that can put our Soldiers in any kind of harms way should never ever be allowed. I believe in free press to a point and only a point when it comes to the safety of our men and women.

        So I do understand and agree where you are coming from. I may not be their Brother-In-Arms, but I am a proud Air Force Brat, and will always stand for and next to our Soldiers.
        Be well,

        Liked by 1 person

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