Hazards of reporting

  @FortuneMagazine December 5, 2013: 6:33 AM ET
EDD23 writer
(Fortune)

In journalism these days, it seems that trouble -- or at least complication -- is never very far away. The other night I was at the annual gala for the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that works to help reporters do their jobs without fear of violence or reprisal. Typically the CPJ is most active internationally, in journalistic danger zones such as Syria, Turkey, and China. Yet here was former CPJ chairman Paul Steiger (former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and current executive chairman of ProPublica) denouncing the Obama administration.

In what I see as a perverse sort of Nixon-goes-to-China play, Steiger noted how "an administration that took office promising to be the most transparent in history instead has carried out the most intrusive surveillance of reporters ever attempted. It also has made the most concerted effort at least since the Plumbers and the enemies lists of the Nixon administration to intimidate officials in Washington from ever talking to a reporter." Said Steiger: "If we are going to be credible admonishing abusers of journalists abroad, we can't stand silent when it is going on at home." I couldn't agree with you more, Paul.

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