Perhaps most amazing is the rapidity with which Barack Obama himself seems to be falling from his pedestal. When he's lost his leg-thrilled fanboy Chris Matthews the same way LBJ lost Walter Cronkite, you might as well call it a duck. And it keeps on quacking.
Why, for instance, is Obama apologizing to conservatives for the I.R.S. basically doing its job of ferreting out phony "social welfare" organizations, but not apologizing to everybody in America for the unprecedented attack by his injudicious justice department on freedom of the press and our right to know? Why did he fire the acting director of the I.R.S. and not Eric "Recusal Excuse" Holder? Um -- maybe because the I.R.S. guy was planning to retire anyway? (Obama has never bothered nominating a permanent replacement.) Maybe because Holder is actually doing the stonewalling job he was hired by Wall Street to do? Protecting press freedom in the Age of the Disposition Matrix was crossed off Obama to-do list years ago -- assuming it was ever a priority in the first place, his platitudes at White House Correspondents' dinners notwithstanding.
His substitute for an apology to the media and the people who depend upon a free press is a self-serving, desperate move to re-introduce a federal shield law for reporters. This is laughable on its face, given that he effectively killed a similar bill in 2009. Four years ago, he was all gung-ho for actually putting journalists in jail if they dare protect sources who leak information that he wants kept secret, and requiring judges to always side with the executive branch over news agencies in cases involving that all-purpose excuse for government secrecy known as National Security. Charlie Savage of the New York Times wrote at the time:
The administration informed Congress of its proposal after an Oval Office meeting Monday between Mr. Obama and several top members of his national security team, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III; and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, according to people involved with the negotiations. Military and intelligence officials have also expressed concerns about the bill.
Several advocates for reporting groups reacted with dismay. They noted that as a senator, Mr. Obama had co-sponsored an earlier version of the “media shield” bill and that Mr. Holder had testified in favor of such legislation.
“This is the question I would have to ask, ‘Do they really want a bill?’ ” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “It doesn’t appear that they do.”Fast forward to 2013, and make-nice-to-the-press Obama goes into damage control overdrive, urging N.Y. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) to reintroduce the "Free Flow of Information" bill that the White House helped kill four years ago. Ironically, it was during this same anti-First Amendment crusade by the administration that the WikiLeaks cables were dumped and published, despite all their best efforts at secrecy. And so they doubled down on their fetish.
The new legislation would give reporters some added protections in criminal and civil cases, but still contains a huge loophole of an exception for those all-encompassing national security cases -- including leaked information on drone strikes, kill lists, government spying on civilians, and whatever other opaque excuses the American Imperium can dream up to keep us safely dumbed down and compliant.
Scapegoats, old goats, wise guys and fall guys -- the latest cast of characters in Grand Guignol, American-style. You have your choice between laughing hysterically and being scared to death.