The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has put the kibosh on a book by whistleblower John Dodson not because he would disclose any sensitive, classified information but rather "because the agency says it would hurt morale," reported Washington Post staffer Sari Horwitz in Tuesday's paper in her 16-paragraph story, "ATF rejects 'Fast and Furious' book."
While clearly such a story is worthy of front-page coverage, editors shuffled it off to page A8. Among the stories on A1 today, the story least-worthy of front-page real estate was William Wan's "Apple for the teacher? In China, many think bigger." Wan's story focused on how bribery was crucial to procure slots at the better public schools in Communist China. An interesting story, but of less import to Americans than a federal agency quashing a book by a whistleblower.
Horwitz noted that the left-leaning ACLU "came to Dodson’s defense Monday and filed a protest with the ATF...saying the decision violates his 'constitutional protections.'"
At no point in her story, however, did Horwitz consider the negative political repercussions for the Obama administration nor inquire to what extent the White House may have leaned in on officials in the ATF to kill the book project. Instead, Horwitz uncritically relayed the party line from the bureaucracy:
A law enforcement official said that a government-wide ban prevents federal employees from receiving compensation “from any source other than the government for teaching, speaking or writing that relates to the employee’s official duties.” The official said the ATF is conducting a review to determine whether Dodson would be revealing any information that is “law enforcement sensitive.” If not, the official said, Dodson could publish his book without receiving compensation.