The Trump administration’s antipathy towards journalists, the media, and the First Amendment has been evident since his first days in office. Hardly a week (day? hour?) goes by without Trump or one of his surrogates attacking the legitimacy of the media, decrying any story critical of his failings as “fake news.” Now, in a chilling attack on the First Amendment, Trump lackey (and frequent punching bag) Jeff Sessions has announced a plan to target journalists reporting on the inner workings of the White House.
From The Hill: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.”
“At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Sessions announced that the Justice Department, FBI and government intelligence agencies will direct more resources into the investigations of government leaks and would prioritize prosecuting those that pass sensitive information along to the press or foreign officials.”
Many journalists are vowing that they will not cave in the face of the DOJ’s threats. Tweeted Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press: “If DoJ media source threat is real…then I look forward to ignoring that subpoena.”
While some are speculating that the Sessions press conference was simply a sad and somewhat transparent attempt by Sessions to return to the good graces of Trump, we take his threats very seriously, as should all Americans. If the White House is using the power of the Department of Justice to go after journalists reporting on the misdeeds of the administration, who will hold the administration accountable?