In Solidarity With TPM Muckraker
This is an easy call, especially since Laura and I used to work for Talking Points Memo. But every journalist and citizen of conscience should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with TPM now that the Justice Department has engaged in a sickening course of petty retaliation.
In late 2006 and 2007, TPM’s Josh Marshall, Paul Kiel and Justin Rood relentlessly pursued the U.S. attorney firings. It wasn’t easy, either substantively, or against the media tide. Jay Carney at Time sneered, “some liberals are seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist.” Well, they existed. Without TPM, Alberto Gonzales would still be attorney general. Simple and plain.
So what does Gonzales’s successor, Michael Mukasey, do? (Or, rather, some anonymous Justice functionary.) Take TPM’s investigative wing, TPMmuckraker, off the DOJ press list. Asked about it at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Mukasey waved the move away, saying that ” I do know that all the press releases should be on our website. So they should be generally available.” Notice the subtle implication that TPMm is too lazy to just go to the DOJ website. If I were Mukasey, I would be extremely careful about suggesting that Paul Kiel needs to be spoon-fed a thing. Ask Gonzales about Paul’s diligence. Do not get in this man’s journalistic gun-sights.
Josh sums it all up well:
Now, as we explained earlier, there are certainly more onerous forms of government harassment than getting kicked off a press list. But this almost comically juvenile stunt is a very telling example that the kind of rank politicization of the department — our reporting of which seems to have gotten us into this position — is alive and well at DOJ.
Hear, hear. It’s a badge of courage that TPM is on the DOJ enemies’ list. But that doesn’t make what Justice is doing any less pernicious. As journalists, we need to stand foursquare behind TPM, and constantly remind our readers that the Justice Department is run by retaliation-obsessed crooks, cronies and crapweasels.