News media blackout on civil liberties & executive powerSeptember 8, 2008 4:29 PM EDT ››› JAMISON FOSER
John Hanrahan, former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for The Washington Post, writes at Nieman Watchdog:
Thus far, the mainstream press has told us virtually nothing in their day-to-day coverage of the campaign about where Obama and McCain stand on what both many conservative and liberal scholars have identified as the threat to civil liberties posed by excessive presidential powers. Moderators of the 2007-early 2008 debates were likewise negligent in asking about these issues.
If we as a nation are truly serious about our young men and women in the military putting their lives on the line to defend our liberties, isn't it worth having a discussion of what exactly those liberties are – and what is the state of those liberties today? How much faith do our leaders really have in the Constitution? We need more reporting on these issues. We need to hear McCain and Obama debate these issues. It's up to the candidates and the press to make it happen.
I'm sure many reporters would say they aren't covering the candidates' positions on these matters because the candidates aren't talking about them. But that's precisely why reporters should be asking these questions.