As I sensed yesterday, Obama’s direct assault on the operations of the ne plus ultra of mainstream journalism, the Associated Press, has finally awakened the majors to the creeping authoritarianism of this White House. As Greenwald snidely notes in The Guardian,
It is remarkable how media reactions to civil liberties assaults are shaped almost entirely by who the victims are. For years, the Obama administration has been engaged in pervasive spying on American Muslim communities and dissident groups. It demanded a reform-free renewal of the Patriot Act and the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, both of which codify immense powers of warrantless eavesdropping, including ones that can be used against journalists. It has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as all previous administrations combined, threatened to criminalize WikiLeaks, and abused Bradley Manning to the point that a formal UN investigation denounced his treatment as ‘cruel and inhuman’.Well, hey, welcome, latecomers! And now for all those worried that the terrible meanies from the GOP will take advantage of this gross error to make political hay: get over it. Thank god and all the relevant saints that there remains a semblance of adversarial politics in this country even if the other team is completely demented. Yes, Obama and the Dems are going to be shellacked by the twin AP/IRS scandals, and yes, it will be utilized cynically to advance the anti-tax, anti-government agenda. That’s how it works.
But, with a few noble exceptions, most major media outlets said little about any of this, except in those cases when they supported it. It took a direct and blatant attack on them for them to really get worked up.
The hot-seat being prepared for the Obama team might be regrettable if Obama actually represented some sort of alternative to that conservative vision or had any intention of defending the government’s taxing power and preserving the New Deal legay. But he’s said and demonstrated repeatedly that he doesn’t, so now the best thing that can happen is for his entire agenda to be bushwhacked into oblivion. There won’t be much left to celebrate, but at least he won’t be able to do any further damage.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Holder’s performance at congressional hearings today was a display of imprudent arrogance, reflecting a dangerously detached sense in the Obama Administration of their own untouchability. But just because they’ve been able to accumulate endless powers over the citizenry from their aerie atop the security state does not mean they are invulnerable to the combined fury of the suddenly indignant news media and the wacko brigades of the right.
This should be fun. Lay in popcorn.