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Journalists: Obama the Worst Since Nixon

The Obama administration’s hostility toward media and efforts to crack down on whistleblowers and leakers has created “a tremendous chilling effect” on substantive reporting, the Committee to Protect Journalists and veteran reporters said Thursday.

The CPJ issued last week a scathing report, written by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr., on the effects of the Obama administration’s efforts to control press coverage, burnish its image, and thwart unauthorized leaks.

Downie joined a panel at the New America Foundation that included Joel Simon, executive director of the CPJ, and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor at the Washington Post, to discuss the report on Thursday.

“The Obama administration’s aggressive war on leaks, and its determined efforts to control information that the news media needs to hold the government accountable for its actions, are without equal since the Nixon administration and in direct conflict with President Obama’s often-stated goal of making his administration the most transparent in American history,” Downie said.

“Parenthetically, I’m old enough that I was one of the editors on the Watergate story, so I make that comparison with knowledge,” he continued.

The report outlines how the Obama White House has fallen far short of the president’s promises to usher in “the most transparent administration in history.”

Six government employees and two contractors have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917 for leaking information to the press since Obama took office—more than all previous administrations combined.

The Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the phone records and emails of journalists suspected of consorting with leakers.

The Obama administration also created an “Insider Threat Program” to ferret out internal information leaks.

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