New York Times reporter James Risen — not to be confused with Fox News reporter James Rosen — is determined to protect the identity of a source.
Risen and the Times have taken the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will deliver a verdict later this year.
Risen refuses to testify in court in the government's prosecution of a former CIA official suspected of leaking classified information to him.
Risen refuses because he doesn't want to be asked under oath who was his source. He says he will go to jail if that is what it takes to protect his source. President Obama's Department of Justice is equally determined to force Risen to cough up the name.
From "most transparent" to "most dangerous"
Speaking recently on a panel in a conference on "Sources and Secrets" in New York, Risen said the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Any journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished,” according to Poynter.org's Andrew Beaujon.
And don't forget that it was New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson who earlier this year called the Obama years "the most secretive administration" since Ronald Reagan was in the Oval Office.
PC Thought Police
Then there's the sad case of now-former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich who resigned after it became known he contributed to the traditional marriage side of California's Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.
Eich's public lynching by opponents of Proposition 8 drew this observation from HBO Real Time host Bill Maher: "I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked."
Fifty-two percent of Eich's fellow Californians agreed with him on Proposition 8. It can be unsettling to wonder how many in the opposite camp, if suddenly given the power, would today visit retribution on every one of those voters if given the opportunity.
The totalitarian temptation
The link between these two incidents is found in the "totalitarian temptation" identified years ago by Hannah Arendt.
It's always there for those who seek to force everybody else to conform to an ideological vision of the good society.
Obama administration officials seek to force national security reporting into narrow parameters of accepted acceptable thought. They are quite willing to use government power to enforce those parameters.
Similarly, many gay marriage supporters who advocate punishment for those who disagree with their cause want to use government power to enforce their views and suppress those who disagree.
Lesson: Big Government cannot long coexist with either a free press or freedom of speech and thought. Men are still not angels and government still cannot be trusted with too much power.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
EXography/Luke Rosiak: Globe-trotting honchos spend big on FMCS' dime.
Columnist/Gene Healy: Republicans should be consistent on the "Imperial Presidency."
Columnist/Cal Thomas: It's time for a national commission to reduce the size of government.
Columnist/Byron York: If Jeb Bush fears a "mudfight," he's not ready for 2016.
Beltway Confidential/Joel Gerhke: Lawmakers probe second EPA official's role in CIA "spy" scandal.
PennAve/Susan Crabtree: GOP believes more than $1 billion spent promoting Obamacare.
Legal Newsline/David Yates: BI-PAC welcomes Supreme Court decision on campaign contributions.
In other news
The New York Times: Ukraine moves to reassert control in eastern region.
The Washington Post: Fear of Russia spark European calls for more fracking.
The Los Angeles Times: Nuke deal brings little relief to regular Iranians.
Washington Free Beacon: Senate Democrats still on front lines of war on women.
The Daily Caller: New report says no progressive groups were targeted by IRS.
The American Spectator: Don't eat the rich!
The Federalist: How to detect true and faux liberals.
The Nation: How to break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock.
UTNE Reader: Depressing map shows Walmartification of America.
Mother Jones: Is Sen. Elizabeth Warren the Democrats' new kingmaker?
Jammie Wearing Fools: Obama to pause between fundraisers to attend Fort Hood memorial.
Hot Air: The next painful NLRB regulation.
Powerline: The Hayward Poll.
Talking Points Memo: Obama White House just undercut a top GOP 2014 argument.
Slate: Why I am still a neoconservative.