NYT Lawyer: Obama Worse Than Nixon, 'Worst President Ever' on Press Freedom

James Goodale, the lawyer for The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case against the Nixon administration, declared in the Times on Tuesday that Obama is going to be worse than Nixon.

“It is a further example of how President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom,” he wrote.

Until President Obama came into office, no one thought talking or emailing was not protected by the First Amendment. President Obama wants to criminalize the reporting of national security information. This will stop reporters from asking for information that might be classified. Leaks will stop and so will the free flow of information to the public.

I've written that the administration action against Julian Assange in the Wikileaks case was a clarion call to journalists. Now, the Rosen case shows, it may be too late.

The A.P. case is more evidence of President Obama's dismissal of the First Amendment in national security cases. There was no need to subpoena The A.P. without telling The A.P. And there was no need to subpoena scores of telephone records of A.P. reporters. The subpoena was over-broad.

The First Amendment protects The A.P.’s right to gather news, as it protects Rosen’s too. Obama’s view is that national security interests nearly always trump the First Amendment. No president has had this view before, except Richard Nixon.

Goodale also talked to New York magazine:

Q. With the AP and Fox News stories, it seems like Obama's record on leakers is finally becoming a mainstream issue. Why did it take until now?

GOODALE: The press has been very forgiving to Obama with respect to the press issue. Why? I think the press generally likes Obama, as I do, and doesn't want to believe what is right in front of them. They prefer to ignore it. Since the events that I describe in my book that are very unfavorable, they have not attracted huge publicity. 

The AP subpoena changed that. Unfortunately, it was combined with the IRS and Benghazi stories, so the spotlight was there. The AP story had a lot of confluence of factors that you probably won't see again — too many things went wrong at the same the time. But now the issue is in play. And when you start looking back at it, it doesn't look really good.

 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis