White House Needs To Hold Press Accountable for Publishing Illegal Leaked Content

The mainstream media is especially dedicated to undermining President Trump at all costs, even at the risk of jeopardizing his ability to conduct legitimate business on the behalf of our country.

Their most recent travesty was The Washington Post‘s publication of transcripts that detailed classified calls made between President Trump and the President Pena Nieto of Mexico as well asPrime Minister Turnbull of Australia. While earlier news reports were done on these phone calls when they were first made in the spring, they were based on accounts of the conversations given by the media’s famous anonymous sources.

However, this unauthorized release of the full transcripts of private conversations between Trump and other world leaders are a very serious violation of Trump’s privacy and will significantly damage the little trust the White Houses has in America’s major media networks like The Washington PostThe New York Times, and CNN. Poking their noses into these conversations do not only embarrass Trump but also embarrass the other world leaders involved.

Transcripts of past phone conversations have been revealed to the press before, but those are usually on purpose and done with the authorization of the President. These releases however intrude upon the privacy of Trump’s foreign policy negotiations. Transparency is good to a certain extent but sometimes, privacy is required for absolute honesty and sensitive negotiations on both sides. By leaking the transcripts of President Trump’s conversations with other world leaders, the American media has now sent a worldwide message that no foreign leader can be guaranteed any level of confidentiality when speaking with President Trump.

This can have very adverse consequences. For example, foreign leaders and officials may longer be as candid and approachable with Trump via the phone if they think that leaks will result in their conversations being made public and heard back home. Secondly, Trump may attempt to make his conversations even more private by removing all of his staff from the room. Currently, the President usually surrounds himself by advisers and staff to assist him while he is conversing with world leaders. But now, Trump may feel he can’t trust any of them and may hold these vital conversations on his own without the support and backup that he might need to better represent us.

Today at a press conference, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised that he would be pursuing these leaks and will punish those who are caught doing so. In fact, Sessions even hinted that he would take another look at the US Department of Justice policy regarding issuing subpoenas to news organizations that publish such leaked content. Of course, the drama-loving reporters quickly overacted and began demanding if Sessions was going to be prosecuting and imprisoning journalists as he finished the briefing and exited the room.

I believe the media should be held accountable for publishing classified material. Why? Because they should know better and by doing so, they endanger the US intelligence community and undermine the effectiveness of our government. It may be hard to catch the individuals who are leaking information but sometimes, the best way of eliminating the supply of something is to simply take away the demand. We may not know who is leaking this material but we do know who the demand is and often times, The Washington Post seems to always be getting the first scoop on these illegal leaks.

The First Amendment is very important but often times, the American press have been abusing it and going far beyond its original perimeters. Clearly the Founding Fathers would’ve never supported the idea that newspapers would use stolen sources to undermine their government. But jailing journalists also is a very bad precedent to establish and I really would not suggest anything of that sort, as there are other ways to punish the American press for their lack of respect and integrity.

One method I think that would be effective is to basically kick any news organization that publishes such classified leaked documents out of the White House Press Corps and ban any member of their news organization from having White House access for a specific period of time. Clearly, there’s is supposed to be mutual trust between the White House and the reporters covering it. If those reporters and their news organization would violate that trust by publishing illegally obtained content, then they should no longer be awarded the privileged of covering the President up close.

Such a punishment shouldn’t just be arbitrary and shouldn’t be indefinite but it must be swift. Furthermore, perhaps all White House Press Corps members should also agree to not republish or spread such content that included illegally obtained sources or they also could be subject to expulsion. The leaks coming out of the White House aren’t just the fault of the Department of Justice or the US intelligence community. They are the fault of news organizations like The Washington Post that continue to encourage such illegal and unpatriotic behavior. The mainstream American media must either partner with the White House or get sidelined in favor of new news networks that may show a more professional level of respect for the White House.

Follow Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus

 

 

One comment

  1. Interesting post. Leaks are concerning and definitely have the chance to damage the US.

    1. Is it fair to place any blame on Trump for not controlling his White House?
    2. Is Trump jeopardizing the relationship that the American people have with the office of the president when he lies (specifically about his tense call with the Australian prime minister)?
    3. Is it ok to leak or share leaks when a staffer or media has proof that the American people are being lied to?
    4. If there is supposed to be mutual trust between the press and the White House, should Trump refrain from attacking any negative news story about him as ‘fake news’?

    Like

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