James Goodale: Journalists should wake to Obama’s free speech record

The two men in charge. (Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons)

The two men in charge. (Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons)

James Goodale, the chief counsel to The New York Times when the paper published the Pentagon Papers, says that the Obama administration has been more restrictive of the First Amendment than any other president in history, even Richard Nixon. In his new book, Fighting for the Press, Goodale implores journalists to put pressure on Obama, who he believes gets a free pass a Republican president wouldn’t get from the press.

In a conversation with the Columbia Journalism Review, Goodale points to the administration’s use of the 1917 Espionage Act to sedate American journalism. “The biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it’s absolutely frightening,” he said. During Obama’s two terms, the Espionage Act has been used to prosecute more alleged leakers than all former presidential offices combined.

Goodale said journalists don’t seem to consider this much of a problem. “They don’t believe it,” he told CJR. “I actually have talked to two investigative reporters who are household names, and I said, ‘Do you realize what’s happening to you if this goes forward?’ And I talk, I get no response, and the subject shifts to other parts of the book. No one seems to care.”

CNN Steubenville coverage shows media’s problem covering rape

The widespread criticism of CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape convictions highlights the deeply problematic ways most mainstream American media outlets approached the story, according to Mallary Jean Tenore at Poynter. On Monday, a petition asking CNN to apologize for its coverage of the Steubenville convictions–which many saw as apologetic for the rapists–gained more than 30,000 signatures on Change.org.

(SEE MORE: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC Air Name Of Steubenville Rape Victim)

Tenore’s post shows how, given the limited access the media had to information about the victim, the narrative surrounding the suspects became increasingly warped. She argues that many journalists lost sight of the important complexities of the story and its implications on “rape culture.”

“There’s no doubt that covering rape is difficult,” Tenore says. “[I]t takes time and resources to report on the nuances of the crime, offer context about how common rape is, and explore both sides of the story. But that’s exactly the kind of reporting we need more of.”

Many have said that if it hadn’t been for the efforts of bloggers and the hacker activist group Anonymous, it’s possible the rape allegations may have never been investigated. The New York Times profiled the efforts of blogger Alexandria Goddard, who grew up in Steubenville and helped piece together much of the social media constellation that became crucial in identifying suspects.

Tenore’s Poynter post also showcases Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, who analyzed the football team’s influence in the town where “a culture of extreme arrogance collapse[d] in two tearful rape convictions.”

(SEE MORE: Gawker’s post railing against CNN’s interest in the “promising futures” of the rapists.)

Reuters editor indicted for allegedly helping Anonymous hack L.A. Times

Anonymous activists in their Guy Fawkes masks. (Vincent Diamante/Wikimedia Commons)

Anonymous activists in their Guy Fawkes masks. (Vincent Diamante/Wikimedia Commons)

A Reuters social media editor was indicted Thursday for helping the hacker group Anonymous gain access to the Tribune Co. web server and disrupt an L.A. Times online story, according to the L.A. Times. Matthew Keys, 26, faces 10 years in prison if he’s convicted on all charges. Keys allegedly gave Anonymous hackers log-in credentials that they used to change the headline, byline and teaser of an L.A. Times story about House Major Leader Steny Hoyer in 2010.

Keys is the deputy social media editor at Reuters and is well-known on Twitter (TIME put his profile on their 2012 list of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds). He hasn’t responded to requests for interviews, but he did post this on Twitter: “I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I’m going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual.”

For now, he still works at Reuters, but TIME reported that Reuters said it’s aware of his indictment but refused to comment until their investigations are completed. Their spokesman did note that Keys is being charged for alleged crimes from 2010 and he started working at Reuters in 2012.