CNN host Jake Tapper had some tough words for President Obama on Tuesday, slamming him on air after the president lectured journalists over their election coverage.
While Tapper acknowledged the president’s comments were legitimate, he noted the administration’s own notoriously poor handling of the media since winning election in 2008.
“Many believe that Obama’s call for us to probe and dig deeper and find out more has been made far more difficult by his administration than any in recent decades,” Tapper said, “a far cry from the assurances he made when he first took office.”
He noted the massive backlog under the Obama administration of requests for material made under the Freedom of Information Act requests, citing journalists who have claimed that “FOIA has been a disaster under his watch” and that the “administration [has been] aggressively lobbying against reforms proposed in Congress”
Tapper also cited an Associated Press study which showed that “The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the US Freedom of Information Act.”
More disturbing, however, were reports of the Obama administration “seizing journalists’ phone records and emails, the aggressive prosecutions of whistleblowers who leak classified information to the press, and the massive surveillance of communications”.
Tapper even pointed out comparisons made to the Nixon administration’s notorious efforts to silence media criticism, citing comments made by Leonard Downie, a veteran of the Nixon-era media battles.
“Mr. President, with all due respect, when one of the Washington Post’s editors involved in the coverage of Watergate says that your administration’s attempt to fight leaks and control the media is ‘the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration’, well, maybe, just maybe your lecturing would be better delivered to your own administration.”