Opinion: Obama administration a foe of free press

 
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OPINION COLUMN BY NICK KINTOP —

The administration of George W. Bush saw more questioning and criticism from more places than any presidency since that of Richard ‘not a crook’ Nixon. Whether all of it was justified or not wasn’t what was important, questioning government is Democracy 101. The criticism of Bush shows true promise of a resurgence of the politically-interested public that is essential to democracy and advancing our freedoms. The 2008 presidential election showed further promise for the future of this advancement of a government by the people and for the people in the United States in the form of the largest voter turnout in decades in support of possibly the greatest symbolic democratic feat of this nation in over a century. This, of course, is referring to the election of African-American President Barack Obama by a substantial popular majority. The public, knowing all of this, seems to have sadly decided to go on political vacation and remains shockingly unwilling to examine the Obama Administration in any serious way in spite of its distinctly “Texas Cowboy” demeanor towards handling the presidency.

The Obama White House has demonstrated an admirable propensity for keeping the political heat off of the Executive and directing it towards others in government, (props of special note go to Hilary Clinton.)  Equally impressive is its ability to gloss over any mistakes by publicizing symbolic, yet ultimately vapid actions such as passing legislation for expanded healthcare (that has yet to be accepted by 25 states) and ever-favorable, yet equally inconsequential events such as commemorations of statues of Rosa Parks.

Problems arise when this administration’s policy of keeping the President out of the blame-game translates into disagreeing with the rights of others, including members of the Free Press to disagree. Obama’s first term saw insanely sexist, profanity-ridden emails to journalists that questioned his policies, a notable example being radio-commentator and former White House correspondent Julie Mason. This inexplicable outrage at being questioned endures to this day, as the recent email from the Obama White House to Bob Woodward, known for his fundamental role in exposing the Watergate Scandal, shows. True, the administration’s undoubtedly righteous fury at Woodward’s disagreement with them on the Sequester was tempered in this email with rose-petal prose, yet still translated into “You’ll regret this.”

Questionable actions on the part of the Obama Administration haven’t been limited to attempts to quiet the Free Press. Recent weeks have seen the current administration make yet another constitutionally hazy faux pas. California’s infamous gay-marriage-prohibiting Proposition 8, that passed by popular majority is now being forcibly put under Supreme Court scrutiny by the White House.

Obama has openly declared his opinion that the law is unconstitutional and is now openly pressuring the nominally apolitical Judiciary to make a favorable ruling in accordance with this view. Whether one is either for or against gay marriage is in this case irrelevant. In the opinion of this writer, any action by a couple of any sexual orientation that grants them tax cuts and undermines extremist Evangelical preachers such as Pat Robertson only furthers the cause of freedom.

The executive branch has threatened members of the Free Press, and is now pressuring the Judicial Branch to ‘fix’ a democratically held and passed state law, (whether the outcome was morally right or wrong is one’s own principle, not the President’s legal playground.)

The preeminent administration of the second decade of this millennium is making attempts to rival the democratically-controversial actions of the first. Where is the public vigilance and objection that was the hallmark of the Bush Administration’s Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay? No matter the guise, race, party or vision of whatever party is currently leading the free world, the public must be engaged, and the public must, above all else – question.

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