Free press

Nov 132012

Filed under “thugocracy” and “free press.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatened to punch a reporter on a recent trip to Colorado, according to witnesses.

Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, tried to ask Salazar about his appointments to the Bureau of Land Management and the wild horse population in the state. Specifically, Philipps had questions about the government’s relationship with a wild horse buyer who allegedly sold more than 1,700 horses to Mexican slaughterhouses…

via Colorado Peak Politics – SHOCK: Secretary Salazar Threatens To “Punch Out” A Colorado Reporter.

Oct 122012

Next time we look for places to cut spending, note that here is one worthless salary that can be zeroed out.  The guy is supposed to be talking to the messengers, not shooting them down.

QUESTION: As a follow-up to the hearing yesterday, how was —

MS. NULAND: Can you tell me who you are?

QUESTION: Mike Levine with Fox.

MS. NULAND: Every time I turn around, I’ve got a new Foxie in the pool here. Going to have to talk to them about that.

via State Dept Spokesperson Objects to Fox News Reporter’s Presence at Press Conference.

Nov 222010

This is what I wrote in response to Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder’s article, “Higher Taxes won’t Reduce the Deficit : History shows that when Congress gets more revenue, the pols spend it.”

The only way tax increases MIGHT work is if Congress first shows that it knows how to cut spending. Zero out NPR funding on budgetary and First Amendment grounds. Repeal ObamaCare. Eliminate ag subsidies, ethanol subsidies, wind generation subsidies, and corporate welfare in general. Cut the budget for Congressional staffs and White House staffs in half. (I’d prefer to give Members of Congress healthy increases in pay and pensions, though.)

This isn’t going to deal with the problem of entitlements, but it is going to give Congress some much-needed practice in making cuts. It will give Congress a chance to prove that it knows how to do it.

Then, after it obtains a Constitutional amendment for Congressional term limits (it needn’t consist of drastic limits) we might talk about tax increases, if we can find a way to pay for them. Until then Congress has a lot of other work to do to have any kind of credibility at all.

If Congress can’t get those preliminaries done, there is no point in raising taxes.

Nov 192010

A tea-partier is said to have said, “Keep your government hands off my medicare.” It looks like NPR now has its own version of that line:

“The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making,” NPR said, referring to its parent organization, Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Sep 032010

A couple of items in today’s news show that the love of learning has not completely disappeared in today’s society:

1. Vladimir Putin’s police conducted a raid on the offices of the New Times, an opposition magazine in Moscow. It’s part of what are called “investigative actions.” This desire to investigate could inspire a higher degree of intellectual curiosity than has been shown thus far by Barak Obama’s administration, which has been content to do no more than badmouth and marginalize its opposition news organizations.

2. Diana West reports on how back in 2003, Allen West, who is running for Congress in Florida’s 22nd District, fired a pistol near the head of an uncooperative Iraqi in order to get him to share his knowledge about assassination plots and ambushes directed against U.S. troops. He apparently realized that you can’t create an intellectually stimulating environment where you don’t have a free and open exchange of ideas.

Jun 172010

If liberals had not gone extinct in the U.S., and especially if there were liberals in the White House, Jon Leibowitz would not be chair of the FTC.

While Leibowitz distanced himself from the proposals for the taxes, calling them “a terrible idea,” his comments appear to be related only to the levies proposed in the working paper. Nobody is commenting on the other part of his proposal — a subsidy for news organizations. —URL

Apr 022010

Vladimir Putin says he’s going to scrape the subway bombers from the bottoms of the sewers. His sidekick says they are going to be harsher and crueller in going against them.

That’s fine, but these claims would have more credibility if Putin had shown the same diligence in going against the killers of Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, and dozens of other Russian journalists who have been murdered. The experience would also have given him an opportunity to develop the law enforcement skills needed to bring the subway bombers to justice.

Sep 242009

And to think, Gibbs works for the guy who is asking for the power to shut down the internet in case of emergency. He tells people what information sources they shouldn’t use.

“I think this is media generated,” Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One. “Stop reading those London tabloids.”  [URL here.]

There are lots of things politicians can say to deflect issues (or non-issues) like that. Maybe Gibbs ought to try a wording that’s a little less thuggish given the sensitivity about Obama’s attitude toward free speech.

Feb 112009

The WSJ editorial page editors are probably not too concerned about being dropped from the list of special reporters who get pre-selected to kiss President Obama’s ring and ask him nice questions at his news conferences, which is probably why they are the ones to comment on the situation:

Presidents are free to conduct press conferences however they like, but the decision to preselect questioners is an odd one, especially for a White House famously pledged to openness. We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors. Mr. Obama can more than handle his own, so our guess is that this is an attempt to discipline reporters who aren’t White House favorites.

Few accounts of Monday night’s event even mentioned the curious fact that the White House had picked its speakers in advance. We hope that omission wasn’t out of fear of being left off the list the next time.

As usual at a time like this, I turn to my Pocket Obama for guidance. I think I found the key to this behavior on page 53:

It’s not healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism or dialogue with people who disagree with them.

“What?” you may ask. What did his press conference have to do with religion?

Exactly the point. Sure, he’s insulating himself from criticism and dialogue with people who disagree with him. But he’s not doing it by wearing religion on his sleeve, so he’s doing it the right way.

Jan 242009

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has got to be jealous of Barak Obama these days. Putin had to have over 20 journalists murdered in order to get the rest of them to be as compliant as the ones covering Barak Obama.

Just how compliant are Obama’s people? Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times explains:

The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.

And Obama did it without firing a shot.

Or maybe American journalists are not as tough as those in Russia. Maybe we should import some of the surviving Russian ones to help fight off the re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine. A report on Eric Holder’s evasions on that subject is here.