When Lyndon Johnson lost CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite during the Vietnam War, or so the legend goes, he knew his days in the White House were numbered.
If President Obama hears what previously stalwart liberal ally Ed Schultz said on his radio show yesterday, he may feel a similar chill down his spine. (Audio after page break)
Schultz was talking with documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald about the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records to investigate leaked information about a thwarted al Qaeda bomb plot in 2012.
Greenwald complained that the Justice Department's action is part of a long pattern of intimidation against whistleblowers, leading Schultz to speculate that Obama's presidency might be doomed (audio) --
SCHULTZ: My God, this just doesn't even sound like Barack Obama, it just doesn't. You know, your, your film, "War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State," shows that the recent crackdown is not the first time the DoJ, the Department of Justice under the Obama administration has come after journalists. Now, with "War on Whistleblowers" as a backdrop and then this story surfaces, what are we to believe? ... This is tough times and, hard times and bubble gum for, for Obama supporters, don't you think? It's tough to chew here.
GREENWALD: It's very tough times and, you know, that's what I said, I don't think anyone wants, you know, people who are Obama supporters or supporters of progressive policies, this is not gleeful jumping up and down, this is saying this is sad, this is painful, but we've got to speak the truth and we've gotta create pressure. And maybe, you know, one positive thing to think about is, think about what people in the immigrant community (have) done, and the LGB community. When they were not getting what they needed, they pushed back. It's similar with civil liberties, it's going to be similar with war, it's going to be similar with drones. We need to push back on this. And sadly, there is a pattern and this happens with all presidents, whether you call it the military industrial complex or the national security state, which checks on 1.7 billion emails every day, think about that power. They have a tremendous impact and power on whosever president. And it's our job as real patriots to push against that.
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, if somebody's politically motivated, they can destroy people's lives. They can, they can, they can destroy candidates, they can destroy people's lives. I mean, this is almost like a secret society that's operating here. And if this goes all the way to the president, it'll be the end of Barack Obama, it will. If this goes all the way to the president, this could be, this could be his downfall.
The first weekend broadcast of "The Ed Show" aired May 11, two months after the show was pulled from MSNBC's weeknight lineup. See what happens when Schultz gets some distance from the Obama apologists in MSNBC primetime? He's now capable of occasional independent thought.