Fox News reporter James Rosen attracted the ire of the Obama administration in 2013 after the White House took exception to his reporting on North Korea. The Justice Department even launched an investigation into Rosen’s reporting, leading many journalists to warn of the chilling effect an indictment would have on freedom of the press.
Now, with President Obama’s final year upon us, Rosen is speaking out against the administration in the harshest of terms.
“There’s no doubt that the Obama administration has maintained an animus towards Fox News and specifically towards me across the two terms,” Rosen said in an interview with Business Insider. “I can tell you as an objective fact that the conduct of the Obama administration – from the president on down – towards Fox News, has far exceeded anything that Richard Nixon ever did to the Washington Post.”
Rosen’s conflict with Obama didn’t end with the flap over his North Korea reporting. Earlier this month, he brought attention to the fact that his exchange with a State Department spokesperson – in which the spokesperson admitted that the agency had misled the public with regards to back-channel talks with Iran – was edited out of the official video record. The State Department later admitted that they concurred with Rosen’s allegations, saying it was not consistent with the agency’s commitment to transparency.
Rosen, though, says this was no random mistake. He accused the administration of pursuing investigators and whistleblowers with what he called an “authoritarian impulse” completely at odds with Obama’s claim to be “the most transparent administration in U.S. history.”
As the media begins to reflect on the entirety of the Obama years, a theme has begun to develop that’s somewhat at odds with reality. They have positioned Obama as a relatively uncontroversial president, free of the scandals that have plagued so many of his predecessors. One pundit said it was like having a “Boy Scout” as president.
But it’s like the old riddle about the sound a tree makes when no one’s around to hear it. If the media doesn’t report – or isn’t allowed to report – on the president’s unseemly history of constitutional violations, did they really happen? The press has spoken out passionately about Obama’s shroud of secrecy, but these accusations are like fireworks in the night: here one minute and forgotten the next. Few are willing to build a strong, ongoing narrative about this president’s hostility to the public press, and that’s exactly why he’s been able to get away with it.