American Elephants


Obama Signs Freedom of the Press Act, Ignores the Press. by The Elephant's Child

At a signing ceremony for the Freedom of the Press Act, President Obama, like his Attorney General could not bring himself to identify the killers of the fearless reporter, in whose name the bill was presented.  Daniel Pearl was beheaded by Islamic terrorists, and our president could not bring himself to say the word jihad, terror, Islam, or any other word that might possibly offend anyone.  Obama said:

And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.

The loss of Daniel Pearl did not “capture the world’s imagination.” It enraged much of the world at the senseless brutality of Islamic jihadists.  It enraged the world that  freedom of the press was so disrespected.  And does the Freedom of the Press Act have some kind of teeth that will protect future reporters around the world?  Does it restrain governments who imprison members of the press, or allow them to be beaten or harmed?  Obama continued:

What this act does is it sends a strong message from the United States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments are operating when it comes to the press.  It has the State Department each year chronicling how press freedom is operating as one component of our human rights assessment, but it also looks at countries that are — governments that are specifically condoning or facilitating this kind of press repression, singles them out and subjects them to the gaze of world opinion in ways that I think are extraordinarily important.

Oftentimes without this kind of attention, countries and governments feel that they can operate against the press with impunity. And we want to send a message that they can’t.

So, if I am reading the President’s statement correctly, the State Department will take notes each year, and if anyone is mean to members of the press, our State Department will ferociously disapprove, in words that will not offend anyone of course,  or something like that.

So “sending a message” will be about as effective as all the other times we “send a message.”  It’s not a priority, and we mangle our messages by apologizing to brutal governments who imprison members of the press and keep them there for years, for things like Arizona trying to force the federal government to protect the borders.

Following the signing ceremony, the press was quickly ushered out of the room without being offered any opportunity to ask questions. Since this is a bill about the freedom of the press, one might assume that the press might have some questions, but that was not allowed.  President Obama has become increasingly remote from the press, except when he is in total control.

Obama’s last formal press conference was July 22, 2009.




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