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Washington Post editor Fred Ryan on Sunday criticized the Biden administration for an “unprecedented attack on American news organizations” aimed at halting government wrongdoing efforts and “alerting all Americans.”
Ryan noted that President Biden criticized the Trump administration for confiscating reporters’ records but has not stopped the practice since taking office.
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“Biden rightly condemned this attack on the First Amendment, calling it ‘just, just wrong’ ‘and assuring Americans that this would not happen in his administration,” wrote Ryan. “Unfortunately, new revelations suggest that the Biden Justice Department not only allowed these troubling interventions to continue – it stepped up the government’s attack on the rights of the First Amendment before finally giving way to reports of its behavior.”
The Washington Post Honcho noted that Biden’s Department of Justice “continued to pursue subpoenas for email minutes from reporters to Google, which operates the New York Times email systems, and obtained a gag order from a Times attorney forced to remain silent about the fact that federal agencies attempted to seize his colleagues’ files “and” forbade Times executives from discussing the lawsuit with the Times newsroom, including the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. ”
The Post, owned by liberal billionaire Jeff Bezos, has historically been in favor of the left, but its publisher was upset with the Democratic president its editorial staff supported.
“This escalation represents an unprecedented attack on American news organizations and their efforts to inform the public of government misconduct under Biden’s watch,” wrote Ryan.
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Ryan said the newspaper found out that Trump’s outgoing Attorney General William Barr was looking for email and phone records from three Post reporters, but the current administration has ignored a request for an explanation and a meeting with the Attorney General.
“This delay is worrying. When asked how the president’s assurances can be reconciled with the conduct of his Justice Department, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was unable to provide an explanation. It subsequently issued a statement denying the White House’s knowledge of the actions that appeared to have continued. “For several months during the Biden presidency,” wrote Ryan apparent doubling during the Biden administration should worry all Americans regardless of their political beliefs. “
Ryan wrote that the First Amendment was “not a special privilege of the press, but rather a fundamental right protecting all Americans” because it empowers citizens to hold elected officials accountable. Trying to silence whistleblowers, however, could keep Americans in the dark about important information.
The DOJ claimed it would “not seek a mandatory legal process on leak investigations to get source information from the media doing their job,” but the Post’s publisher does not necessarily buy it.
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“There is no guarantee that the Biden administration – or future governments – will not resume these intrusive tactics. There needs to be clear and permanent safeguards in place to ensure that this audacious violation of the rights of the First Amendment is never repeated, ”wrote Ryan.