Veteran CNN, New York Times and CBS Reporters: Obama Administration Is the Most “Manipulative”, “Control Freak”, “Secretive”, “Hostile to Media” In HISTORY

Veteran Journalists Reveal that – Contrary to It’s Claims of “Openness” and “Transparency” – This Administration Is the Most Closed Ever

Long-time CNN political reporter Bob Franken (now with MSNBC) said last week:

FRANKEN: Well, let’s use the “P” word here. This is propaganda when it comes from the White House: government covering the government. It’s not what you’re supposed to do in the United States of America. But we have an administration, every president gets to the point where he dislikes the press. It’s that simple. And every administration tries to manipulate the press. But this is the most hostile to the media that has been in United States history. Not only do we have this thing where they’re…

[Interviewer]: Wait, you would go that far?

FRANKEN: I would go that far.

[Interviewer]: The most hostile in history?

FRANKEN: The most hostile because first of all, we have the situation where they are in fact shutting out the press. And by the way, when they say you can’t have every photographer in, they know full-well that there’s a thing called a pool, which is to say you have one representative from each of the media that represents all of them and shares the pictures and the sound and all that kind of thing. So that’s totally disingenuous, which is a polite word.

But the reason I say most hostile is because of the Justice Department moves that they’ve made against the press. Obviously they have a contempt for the journalistic process. Those of us who are in journalism, of course, believe that it is vital if you’re going to have informed electorate as opposed to one that’s been propagandized.


Many other veteran reporters agree.  For example, the Washington Post reported recently:

With the passage of the Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a vast expansion of intelligence agencies and their powers, the aggressive exploitation of intrusive digital surveillance capabilities, the excessive classification of public documents and officials’ sophisticated control of the news media’s access to the workings of government, journalists who cover national security are facing vast and unprecedented challenges in their efforts to hold the government accountable to its citizens. They find that government officials are increasingly fearful of talking to them, and they worry that their communications with sources can be monitored at any time.So what are they doing? Many reporters covering national security and government policy in Washington these days are taking precautions to keep their sources from becoming casualties in the Obama administration’s war on leaks. They and their remaining government sources often avoid telephone conversations and e-mail exchanges, arranging furtive one-on-one meetings instead. A few news organizations have even set up separate computer networks and safe rooms for journalists trained in encryption and other ways to thwart surveillance.

“I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails,” said veteran national security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit accountability news organization. “It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for government to monitor those contacts.”

“We have to think more about when we use cellphones, when we use e-mail and when we need to meet sources in person,” said Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor of the Associated Press. “We need to be more and more aware that government can track our work without talking to our reporters, without letting us know.”

These concerns, expressed by numerous journalists I interviewed, are well-founded. Relying on the 1917 Espionage Act, which was rarely invoked before President Obama took office, this administration has secretly used the phone and e-mail records of government officials and reporters to identify and prosecute government sources for national security stories.


In addition to ongoing leak investigations, six government employees and two contractors, including fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have been prosecuted since 2009 under the Espionage Act for providing information to reporters about, among other subjects, the NSA’s communications surveillance, the CIA’s aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects and, in the case of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, diplomatic cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war documents.


The Obama administration has drawn a dubious distinction between whistleblowing that reveals bureaucratic waste or fraud, and leaks to the news media about unexamined secret government policies and activities; it punishes the latter as espionage.


Every disclosure to the press of classified information now triggers a leak investigation, said Washington Post national news editor Cameron Barr. “Investigations can be done electronically. They don’t need to compel journalists to reveal sources.”

The Post’s Justice Department reporter, Sari Horwitz, said a Justice official told her that “access to e-mail, phone records and cellphones make it easier to do now.”

After the New York Times published a 2012 story by David E. Sanger about covert cyberattacks by the United States and Israel against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, federal prosecutors and the FBI questioned scores of officials throughout the government who were identified in computer analyses of phone, text and e-mail records as having contact with Sanger.

“A memo went out from the chief of staff a year ago to White House employees and the intelligence agencies that told people to freeze and retain any e-mail, and presumably phone logs, of communications with me,” Sanger said. As a result, longtime sources no longer talk to him. “They tell me: ‘David, I love you, but don’t e-mail me. Let’s don’t chat until this blows over.’ ”

Sanger, who has worked for the Times in Washington for two decades, said, “This is most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”


A survey of government departments and agencies this summer by the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers found that they had wide latitude in defining what kinds of behavior constitute a threat. “Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material,” it reported in June. “They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for ‘high-risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.”

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told me that the Insider Threat Program has already “created internal surveillance, heightened a degree of paranoia in government and made people conscious of contacts with the public, advocates and the press.”


“People think they’re looking at reporters’ records,” Post national security reporter Dana Priest told me. “I’m writing fewer things in e-mail. I’m even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it’s all going into one giant computer.”


“Whenever I’m asked what is the most manipulative and secretive administration I’ve covered, I always say it’s the one in office now,” Bob Schieffer, CBS News anchor and chief Washington correspondent, told me. “Every administration learns from the previous administration. They become more secretive and put tighter clamps on information. This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”

While Obama says he’s running the most transparent administration ever, he’s actually running the most secretive administration ever (background).

The government has taken to protecting criminal wrongdoing by attacking whistleblowers … and any journalists who have the nerve to report on the beans spilled by the whistleblowers.  (The government has also repealed long-standing laws against using propaganda against Americans on U.S. soil, and the government is manipulating social media – more proof here and here).

The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

And it goes out of its way to smear whistleblowers, threaten reporters who discuss whistleblower information and harass honest analysts.

Journalism is not only being criminalized in America, but investigative reporting is actually treated like terrorism.

The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge

After the government’s spying on the Associated Press made it clear to everyone that the government is trying to put a chill journalism, the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek tweeted:

Serious idea. Instead of calling it Obama’s war on whistleblowers, let’s just call it what it is: Obama’s war on journalism.


  • The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officers, bloggers and anyone else who criticized the Iraq war

And the American government has been instrumental in locking up journalists in America (and here), Yemen and elsewhere for the crime of … embarrassing the U.S. government.

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  • Tonto

    -“Veteran CNN, New York Times and CBS Reporters: Obama Administration Is the Most “Manipulative”, “Control Freak”, “Secretive”, “Hostile to Media” In HISTORY”-


    And our media outlets, both mainstream and alternative are the most easily bought in our history too. They are being bought by government. And they are being bought by multinational corporations too.

    Regardless what the media tells us, there’s an economic depression going on, and things are not what they used to be. Media people from Michael Rivero to Jim Lehrer would sell their souls for a few measly dollars. (That’s a compliment you hardly deserve, Michael, to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jim Lehrer. It’s just rhetorical flourish. Don’t let your head swell!)

    This economic depression has been caused by Baby-Boomer demographics and the coincidental wholesale collapse of the scientifically invented mechanisms required to maintain support for that which used to feed all the non-productive eaters in our society, a number that far exceeds, 150-million Americans; including Americans who cannot find a job because the minimum wage laws limit the number of jobs available, and, they would rather stay on welfare than work; AND, Americans who have non-productive, do-nothing government and NGO jobs.

    The theory espoused around Washington D.C. is along the lines of the WPA program of the last depression. The government has hired vast numbers of people to stand around and do nothing.

    So, let’s not paint Obama with a brush that doesn’t entirely suit his stripes. Yes, he manipulates the press more than previous presidents. And yes, the press invites it at every turn too.

    Deficit spending requires that the government literally print money to replenish EBT (food stamp) cards, print welfare checks and fund section 8 housing vouchers. All this money printing in turn is causing sector inflation (food, fuel, housing) that is impoverishing more people daily. And there isn’t a single government economic statistic that has NOT been massaged and printed in the media as gospel.

    The press is corrupt, unbelievably corrupt, matched only by the government’s corruption. The press will run whatever story you want printed, for a price. Just ask the pharmaceutical industry that is selling synthetic opiate drugs to kids all over the country. Money talks! Haven’t you heard?

    • colinjames71

      Would you eliminate minimum wage laws without any other changes to anything if you could?

    • colinjames71

      I asked below question to further pinpoint your ideological leanings, Iwas a little surprised by some of those statements because i usually agree with you is all. I thought it might be disingenuous to approach it like that so you don’t need to answer. I ain’t trying to argue minimum wage laws, or anything else for that matter.

  • ShankyS

    Awesome post WB. I assume it won’t be long till they start hitting us here on the net. We better get the word out while we still can.

  • colinjames71

    From the FP link ‘U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans’–
    ‘(BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil) added that the reform has a transparency benefit as well. “Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars — greater transparency is a win-win for all involved,” she said. And so with that we have the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, and went into effect this month.’

    How awesome is that! Accountability vis-a-vis TRANSPARENT propaganda, and since it’s part of the NDAA, you know it’s good for you…

  • gozounlimited

    Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior…..

    The worlds strongest storm in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan (also named Yolanda), claimed to have sustained winds reaching 195mph — gusts up to 235mph. This massive storm originally began its rotation out of a microwave anomaly in the West Pacific. Some investigators believe that the U.S. Department of Defense may have used the X-Band Radar (SBX-1) totrigger the cyclone that developed into this massive storm.

    With regards to the superpowers’ navy and directed-energy weaponry, we find this storm to be triggered exactly one month after China was debating with Philippines in who owns the South China Sea oil reserves. We also take note of intense anti-government clashes between Philippine’s military and other groups in the Philippines (Abu Sayyaf, Communist Party, etc), some of which the U.S. government and its allies are also trying to control. Furthermore, anti-military groups in the
    Philippines express their statements against the US invasion of Syria and US access of military bases present in the Philippines. All of this was occurring just months before Haiyan hit. All too timely, isn’t it ? And now we see the U.S. taking military advantage of an area that has not been occupied by them for a long time, all in the name of humanitarian efforts…..

    US calls on China to rescind air defense zone to avoid Japan confrontation…. REALLY?

    “This appears to be a provocative attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the the East China sea and thus raises tensions and increases the risk of inadvertent confrontation.” (Jay Carney) ….

    • gozounlimited

      Example of past behavior indicating future…… one hour ago……

      WASHINGTON — As Santa streaks through the sky this Christmas Eve, Rudolph merrily guiding the way, he will be flanked by some new and unusual companions: a jet-fighter escort, bristling with missiles.

      That is the twist that — to the dismay of at least some child advocates — the US military has chosen to put on this year’s version of its traditional animated tracking of the yuletide journey.

      The jets is “part of our effort to give the program more of an operational feel,” said Navy Captain Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the command that sponsors the event, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD.

      “Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas,” said Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and cofounder of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “They are associating this with the military in children’s minds. It is completely out of line.” …….

      • gozounlimited

        The military controls God and Santa……

  • TheTruth

    What if the government thinks it is right and doesn’t understand its own crimes or that it is committing crimes. They don’t get it because they are too embedded into corruption that they don’t know right from wrong, due to the real players that manipulated government to be fearful of terrorism or other crimes against the state.

  • Rehmat

    Obama administration is not doing anything worse than the earlier administrations. They’re all manupilated by the Jewish lobby in foreign policy – and the mainstream media is still controlled by the same six Zionist Jewish families as in the past. Obama administration, like Bush and Clinton administrations, is loaded with the Israel-Firsters. So, what the heck Bob Franken is whining about?

    “I think when it is all over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president,” – Abner Mikvaner, former Chicago’s Zionist Congressman, a Federal Judge and White House counsel to former president Bill Clinton.