Open government crucial for press

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

By Bradlee Locke | News Editor

The story behind how the Watergate scandal was discovered is my fairy tale.

It is the story of two curious, brave journalists who exhausted every method and source possible to uncover the truth behind one of the greatest scandals in our nation’s history.

The journalists who uncovered it, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, are my versions of Batman and Robin.

What makes their story so intriguing are the circumstances they worked under. The Nixon administration was reported to be one of the tightest administrations for journalists to excel under.

Although, according to recent reports, the Obama administration might be a close competitor.

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a report last week titled “The Obama Administration and the Press,” which addresses President Barack Obama’s so-called transparency with the press.

The author, former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, worked at the Washington Post when Watergate first broke. In his report, he said the Obama administration’s attempt to control information is the “most aggressive” he has seen since the Nixon administration.

More leakers have been prosecuted under this administration than all past administrations combined.

The most recent leaker was Edward Snowden who released information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and is currently seeking asylum in Russia.

I understand that certain precautions need to be taken in order for our country and its people to remain safe, but I do not think that all of the prosecutions that have taken place have been necessary.

David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, said in the report, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”

The methods that some leakers have taken might not have been the best, but I applaud them in taking information the people should have already known and making it public via the press.

As a journalist, my job is to find the truth and report it to the people. If sources are afraid to talk for fear of the government finding out, it is not only difficult to do my job but discouraging. This unwillingness to come forward affects not only me but America as a whole.

Because of this war on leaks, the Obama administration has also declared war on this country’s journalists. The message they are sending is one of secrecy and uncertainty.

Now I do not want to get into false conspiracies and off-the-wall extremism about Obama and his administration.

But when a president does not allow the people’s “eyes and ears” to do their job, I cannot help but wonder what is truly going on behind the walls of his Oval Office.

With the way things are going in this “war on leaks,” it looks like I might get my fairytale wish of being the brave journalist who uncovers one of the government’s scandals.

About Bradlee Locke

Copy Editor

Leave a Reply