In a recent appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe show, Chuck Todd said that President Obama is criminalizing journalism.
There was a time when only "conspiracy theorists" talked like that. But something has changed in the public mood in America in the last couple of weeks. The flood of scandals rocking the Obama administration, some real, some buried, and some contrived, has changed attitudes about President Obama in the press.
Now, questioning the government is not ridiculed as conspiracy theorizing. Even mainstream journalists feel outraged at what the Obama administration is getting away with. But the AP scandal just scratches the surface. The integrity of the press was dismantled a long time ago.
So is the mainstream media's outrage too little too late?
America's slide to a closed society didn't happen overnight. Obama was given the keys to the prison, he didn't have to build it from scratch. The bars on the prison doors are closing faster as it reaches the bottom so they're more noticeable, but the trend towards hardcore totalitarianism has been visible for more than two decades. And, in fact, you can argue that America has been a relatively closed society for half a century, or, going back further, since the end of WWII.
What President Obama is doing to put pressure on journalists and whistleblowers is tame compared to what other authoritarian governments have done to destroy press freedom, such as Turkey, China, and Iran. But, America is getting there. The Obama administration could very well shut down the Internet in the near future, in an atmosphere of public anger, confusion, protest, and unrest. The president has that power.
Here is an excerpt from an article published in the Committee to Protect Journalists on December 11, 2012, called, "Journalists in prison reach record high: Turkey, Iran, and China among leading jailers":
The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high this year, a trend driven primarily by terrorism and other anti-state charges levied against critical reporters and editors, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.America prides itself on being the global leader of democracies and the greatest challenger of totalitarian fascism, but this is not true. There is no sanctuary for liberty in the world today. All the centers of power embrace the basic principles of totalitarianism, treat the public as sheep, abuse the trust of citizens, and crush dissent in every possible way.