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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Just One Question

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In a business where embargoes and other forms of cooperation between the press and sources are common, why cannot the president enjoy a private telephone conversation?  Forget Donald Trump for a minute and ask yourself what that says to the other heads of state involved.  It’s not just Trump that is getting exposed here.  FDR was certainly permitted some privacy.

How can the same source that carries a story under the headline:

Trump critics say latest leaks go too far

also carry a story under the headline:

5 highlights from Trump’s calls with Mexican, Australian leaders

Press “neutrality” is one thing, but a complete lack of standards is another thing altogether.

I am sure the press’ decision on presenting or withholding information are based on what it views as the public good.  Of course, I probably disagree with them on what constitutes the public good in many instances – but this is different.  I don’t care who holds the office, printing the transcript of private conversations between the president and other heads of state damages the both nations.  Thus the public good cannot possibly be served.

If the government wiretapped the press, all you-know-what would break loose.  Well, presidential phone calls are transcribed for purposes of reference in follow-up communications or when other officials conduct discussions, but that does not make those transcripts fodder for public discussion and their release is analogous to a wiretap.

The leak is a crime and the press should know that and should not participate in it.  It’s that simple.  Who knows the motivations of the leaker, though it is easy to presume it is “deep state” stuff.  But that said if the press did not take it and use it it would not have nearly as much negative effect.  Yes, it might still appear on some anonymous blog, to be found and eliminated by our intelligence agencies.  Yes, foreign intelligence agencies might get there first and that could be damaging, but it is damage that can be contained.  Once the press publishes it the damage is beyond containment.

There is a lot of criminality and a lot of shame to go around on this one.


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