Bush's 'war on the press'

The
American Government’s campaign against leaks to the Press is expanding. It’s no
longer just about terrorism, the treatment of Iraqi prisoners or illicit
eavesdropping. It has expanded to stories about the illegal use of drugs by
American baseball players. Two reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle ,
Lance Williams and Mark
Fainaru-Wada,
have been subpoenaed to reveal the source of stories they wrote
about a secret investigation into the use of steroids by two well-known
American baseball players.

Legal
experts regard it as a new escalation of the Bush administration’s war against
the Press. The new case has nothing to do with national security. And nothing
like it has happened before, legal experts say. It is, they say, an example of
the White House zero tolerance to leaks to the press. It is also being compared
to the efforts by the FBI to search the files of Jack Anderson, the renowned
columnist who died last year. Anderson
was regarded as a thorn in the side of former FBI chief J Edgar Hoover. Many American
journalists point out that leaks have been commonplace for decades. But no-one
in the past has taken them so seriously. The San Francisco Chronicle even went
to so far in an angry editorial to describe the new move as part of a “war on
the press” The paper said it would support its reporters who, it insisted, had
done nothing wrong. Certainly nothing criminal. Although the efforts to curb
the American press are seen by some as bluster – there are some who are not so
sure. They fear the intimidation.

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