Former CBS investigative correspondent testifies at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch:
SHARYL ATTKISSON: In 2013, Reporters Without Borders downgraded America’s standing in the global free press rankings, rating the Obama administration as worse than Bush’s. It matters not that when caught the government promises to dial back or that [FOX News’] James Rosen gets an apology. The message has already been received. If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state.
For much of history, the United States has held itself out as a model of freedom, democracy, and open accountable government. Freedoms of expression and association are of course protected by the constitution. Today those freedoms are under assault due to government policies of secrecy, leak prevention, and officials contact with the media, combined with large scale surveillance programs. The nominee if confirmed should chart a new path and reject the damaging policies and practices that have been used by others in the past. If we aren’t grave enough to confront these concerns, it could do serious long-term damage to a supposedly free press. Thank you.