The First Amendment holds a place of unique reverence in the hearts of Americans. Rather than focusing on a single issue, its authors packed it with critical constraints on the federal government that encompass rights pertaining to speech, association, religion, and the press. It is a mouthful of freedom that justifiably deserves special attention. However, like everything in the Constitution, it is not absolute and it requires interpretation to be understood and implemented.
With regard to recent events concerning Fox News, and its alleged reporter James Rosen, the question as to whether there was a violation of the First Amendment’s freedom of the press has roiled the media and spurred condemnation from across the political spectrum. However, no matter what one thinks about the propriety of a government agency examining the phone records of a purported journalist, James Rosen does not deserve to be regarded as one.
In the government’s affidavit supporting their request for a search warrant, a passage in the document reveals that Rosen had stepped far outside the boundaries of journalism. His activities were those of a political operative with a specific agenda that was openly hostile to the official foreign policy of the United States. And Rosen pursued that agenda with an intent to obtain classified materials that he knew was impermissible for him to possess.
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Breaking down the pertinent parts of this document, Rosen begins by admitting in an email to his accomplice, State Department analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, that he is not seeking to uncover government corruption or malfeasance. [Note: in these communications Rosen used the alias “Alex,” and gave Kim the name “Leo.”] Rosen stated plainly that his interest “is breaking news ahead of my competitors.” That is a self-serving, market-driven motivation that removes any of this from comparisons to Watergate or any other whistleblowing type of activity.
The next relevant passage is Rosen’s statement saying “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.” That is an overt solicitation for classified information for which Rosen has no security clearance to observe, and that would (and did) subject Kim to criminal liability for disclosing state secrets. It is one thing for a government insider to voluntarily drop internal documents over the transom, but quite another for a “reporter” to deliberately coax such information from a vulnerable associate. That is more like the behavior of an agent of espionage. Elsewhere in the affidavit, Kim told FBI investigators that Rosen had used flattery and appeals to his vanity in order to elicit the secret data that Rosen later published.
But the most damning affirmation of Rosen’s complicity in unethical, if not unlawful, behavior is this passage wherein he makes a startling confession:
“Let’s break some news, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it, or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible. The only way to this is to EXPOSE the policy…and the only way to that is with authoritative EVIDENCE.”
Rosen’s admission that he was seeking to “force the administration’s hand” in a direction that he believes is not “muddle-headded” is undeniable proof that he was acting as an operative, and not as a journalist. If Rosen thought that the government’s policy was wrong, he could certainly say so without retribution. If he thought that the government was engaged in wrongdoing, he could certainly pursue and disclose evidence of that. But to seduce a government employee to illegally transfer classified documents in order to alter government policy merely because he disagrees with it, and absent any corruption or controversy, is a purely political act.
The facts enumerated in the affidavit clearly reveal improper behavior and intent on Rosen’s part. And it is not difficult to see why the judge, a Reagan appointee, concluded that there was probable cause to grant the request to examine Rosen’s phone records.
As I said at the beginning of this article “No matter what one thinks about the propriety of a government agency examining the phone records of a purported journalist, James Rosen does not deserve to be regarded as one.” And it is not coincidental that Rosen works for Fox News where political advocacy, not journalism, is their core mission.
Fox has been working non-stop since their inception to “force the hand” of government, and not in a good direction. Don’t forget that the CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, was a political operative for Richard Nixon and other ultra-rightists before he took the reins of a cable news network. And his boss, Rupert Murdoch, has spent decades exerting undue influence over governments around the world. Are the pieces beginning to fit together now? Fox News is not, and never has been, news.
[Update] Through much of this contrived controversy, Fox has maintained that they were shocked to discover that one of their “reporters” had been the subject of an FBI investigation. Now CNN reports that Fox was informed of the subpoena for Rosen’s records three years ago. So pretending to be surprised is just another gimmick to sensationalize their fake reporting.
56 thoughts on “CONFIRMED: Fox News Hack James Rosen Is A Political Operative, Not A Journalist”
Wow – you will defend the state at all costs. I can see you certainly can’t be depended upon to support your fellow citizens against the state – they got themselves a true believer.
I am beginning to believe Mark is not just your run of the mill political hack, but possibly one paid by the government to defend it at all costs.
And you and Steve are apparently so ignorant that you have to make idiot cracks in lieu of actually rebutting what I wrote. It’s really kinda pathetic.
You don’t want rebuttal, Mark. You would only dismiss it and wind up calling Steve and me ignorant anyway. At least this time all three of us cut to the chase without the lengthy back and forth.
Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.
Several years ago, FOXNEWS went on record as stating that they are not an actual news agency, but are an entertainment entity. If this is the case, their alleged ‘reporters’, are not actual journalists, only jabbering political commentators, who rarely land on the positive side of reality. Therefore, James Rosen is by no means any sort of legitimate journalist. None of them are. They’re just noise into the hollow ears of the TeaBagged.
And a judge ruled that they are allowed to lie to their viewers simply because they are “entertainment” and not “news”. I almost wish for the Canadians law which makes it illegal to knowingly lie about news. This is why fox isn’t allowed to broadcast there.
No, but I will.
Are you two retarded?
I like to save time.
He’s kind of right.
I hate Fox News as much as the next self-respecting some-what informed guy.
But you’re supporting clamping down on someone who is indeed a reporter, and his State Department source. Instead of protecting the press, you’re prioritizing defending Obama and the Democrats and smashing Fox News and conservatives.
I even reviewed some of your other work — it’s hard to find you critical of any Democrat. So it’s pretty clear what your “deal” is…
But this is going way too far, cheering on the suppression of a reporter just because he’s from Faux News? Cheering on the Obama Administration’s war on whistleblowers?
He’s used the Espionage Act over six times now (seven including Rosen at FNC), way more than any presidents combined post-war. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/business/media/white-house-uses-espionage-act-to-pursue-leak-cases-media-equation.html?_r=0 )
Democrats are turning into teabaggers. Anti-fact, anti-reality partisan hacks.
Re-read what YOU wrote: “…cheering on the suppression of a reporter just because he’s from Faux News?”
If he is from “Faux” News, he is a faux reporter. He is not a journalist so how could be protected by a clause that protects journalists? He is an operative of the Republican Party, which is what Fox is.
And please do not expand this into areas I have not addressed. I am disturbed by much of what is being done to whistleblowers, but that does not apply in this case. You cannot combine them all.
Thanks for being consistent – my opening post was incredibly accurate. Journalist or not, supporting government power to intimidate or crush opposition from an American citizen is NEVER ok – so keep fooling yourself into believing you’re something better – you’re not.
NO, he is not from “Faux” news. He is from Fox News, and he is a news reporter. He is a journalist, so he is protected. Period. No matter how many times you think that your stupid little insults are actually facts, they are not.
Thi scandal will get worse. You can’t stop it.
IMO, only one without ethics or principles would defend another who clearly did something wrong. Furthermore, since some of these same folks have separate standards for individuals based on their political affiliations, it makes them hypocrites.
He purposely solicited government secrets, this makes it so much different then cases where ‘whistle blowers’ seek journalists to expose something they find indefensible within government. He did it specifically because he believes the current administration is ‘muddle headed’ in their actions and wanted a scoop. No matter what you think of the administration the ‘journalist’ in question is on shaky grounds. He’s not a journalist. He is and operative, just like Jonathan Karl. More on Karl can be found here: http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/a-right-wing-mole-at-abc-news/
They have an agenda and it isn’t honest. Hopefully they’ll go with way of Judith Miller, not that Rosen can sink much further.
Whether their agenda is honest or not, that they have an agenda is key. This is Mark’s point; Karl and Rosen are political operatives, not journalists in any sense of the word. On Faux “News,” that is obvious, but it was not so obvious about Karl until I read that FAIR piece. I thought he had just practiced poor journalism, but that is not the case.
Thank you Aimee and thank you Mark for these exposes on these two “reporters.”
Why did the framers of the constitution want freedom of the press? So the citizenry could openly discuss issues similar to the muddle-headed policies of King George III, which were considered by the British governors of the English colonies to be proprietary and only discussable under license.
While there are certainly situations where material must be kept confidential, we own those internal state department analyses. The whole idea of this experiment in government is that an informed populace makes informed decisions in choosing legislators that advance the common interest.
There’s a lot wrong with Fox, but Rosen was acting like a journalist in the very way the framers of the Constitution intended.
The first amendment doesn’t need to protect the causes and issues we like; it is there to protect the ones we don’t. Claiming reverence for the constitution, and then going on to redefine James Rosen as not being a journalist and therefore not worthy of press freedoms only demonstrates your lack of knowledge of how the first amendment came to be.
It protects people with points of view the same way it protects the “objective” reporter, which only appeared relatively recently in this country’s history of political writing. The press freedom the founders sought to protect was far more like Fox than CNN.
You hate Fox so much that you’re willing to trade away the first amendment rights it shares with the rest of us, to see one of their reporters prosecuted for doing his job.
You are conflating speech with acts.
Rosen is perfectly free to go on the air and talk about muddle-headed policies. He can call the President a Marxist, Muslim, Nazi, Kenyan. Of course that would not comport with the stated objective of Fox News which claims to be “fair and balanced,” but it is speech and it’s protected. But when he stops speaking and conspires to break the law, he is no longer engaging in activities addressed in the First Amendment.
Daniel Ellsberg received and disseminated classified documents. But he never recruited government officials and directed them to violate the law. That’s the difference between a legitimate journalist and a political operative.
Another example: You can go on TV and say that the IRS is a corrupt organization and ought to be destroyed. But if you build a bomb and put it in the lobby of the IRS headquarters, you are not protected by the First Amendment.
No, speech and the press are separate in the first amendment:
“or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”
You are trying to change the subject. His right to call someone names is not in question here. Nor is Daniel Ellsberg the parallel. That would be The New York Times in receiving stolen documents and conspiring with Ellsberg to reveal them. That issue was considered at the time, and the consensus was that would be an abridgement of press freedoms.
The freedom of the press includes the right to gather and disseminate information free from the chilling effects of government. It is why prior restraint laws are struck down. It is why the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 would be found unconstitutional (they were in fact repealed).
And this is also not about building a bomb. It is about the legitimate rights of a free press in a free society, which in its exercise is a phyiscal act of soliciting facts, compiling them and then performing the physical act of publishing them.
Which is why the framers of the constitution differentiated speech and press as requiring their own separate enumeration.
Thank you for correcting me. I did mean to address press and not speech. The principle is the same. Freedom of the press is not a blank check to violate the law. And, again the NYTimes did not conspire with Ellsberg or anyone else to steal classified documents. The docs were dumped in their lap and then they debated whether to publish them.
Also, you are correct that freedom of the press includes the right to gather and disseminate. But it does not include any right commit crimes.
Sometimes activists break the law to achieve an end. If I am sympathetic to their cause I might even admire them for it. But that doesn’t mean they are not subject to the legal consequences. And the key point is that they are activists and not journalists.
That is a tautology. Of course it doesn’t include the right to commit crimes. What is at issue here is whether these are crimes because laws at issue are being used in a constitutional way.
It is also one more reason why a federal shield law is so important. I’m glad to see the Obama administration suddenly supporting one. There are so many ways to prosecute news organizations for minor infractions when suppression of stories is the real objective that we need a clear and concise set of protections.
Remember, the Nixon administration got an injunction against the NYT and tried to get one against the Washington Post alleging that a crime had been committed. Specifically, section 793 of the Espionage Act, which defines as criminal mere possession of the documents. So being “dumped in their lap” is immaterial. Possession of them in and of itself was a crime according to statute.
This is the same issue that we’ve never fully addressed. Nixon moved the goal posts but we decided as a nation (thanks to a favorable but not unified decision from the Supreme Court) that our press freedom trumped the government’s claim of national security and possession of documents alleged to be state secrets in that case.
It is sad that the Obama administration (through the efforts of Eric Holder) is the one that is aggressively trying to move them again.
You may not like James Rosen. You may hate Fox. I get that; I don’t watch them and I don’t trust them. But I don’t need to in this case, because what I find offensive is coming right from the court filings of the DOJ.
Thinking you’ll somehow morph this into something besides press freedom by attacking James Rosen as a hack reminds me of Rush Limbaugh trying to turn a contraceptive rights debate into a moral judgement of Sandra Fluke. Not only is it wrong, it’s just not the point.
Limbaugh? That’s a low blow. 😉
I do agree with you about the Shield Law. That would put to rest these ambiguities and the opportunity for abuse.
I don’t know but the freedoms that we enjoy could not be a blank check to act without facing the consequences from your actions. How about revealing a battle plan that could lead to the deaths of hundreds of people? Geraldo revealed battle plans on the news and was sent home. In England reporters would break into the emails of people so that they get scoops. They even pretended to send texts from a murdered girl to make it look like she was alive. Before you say that this was in England, the reporters that did this worked for a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdock, the owner of Fox News. So I am a little skeptical about the morals or intention of this man. This is something that the American people have to look into, because consequences are bad either way.
This seems to be the tried and true M.O. of fox. In England, Murdock had the phones of victims and celebrities hacked to be the first to get “news”; he had his people bribe cops and public officials to facilitate getting his story without retribution. His employees over there and his own son got in some pretty hot water over this type of “journalism”. But, as I understand it, the trouble Murdock found himself in was simply breaking civil laws.
Rosen, by doing the bidding of his bosses, could be in serious legal trouble himself and doesn’t mind conspiring to bring others along with him (Kim). The difference is Rosen is looking to obtain classified info in a selfish enterprise which could undermine his own country.
What a patriot.
Haven’t you heard? Selfishness IS patriotism now. At least according to the Right.
OH, Fox…your asses are DONE. This isn’t “journalism.” Anyone whose sole purpose is to “force the administration’s hand” is engaging in deliberate political chicanery. At what point are we going to step in and demand that Fox remove the word “News” from its name? Fox isn’t news, and it never has been. News is reporting facts, not trying to “force anyone’s hand” to further a political agenda. You know, I’m beginning to see now why Fox lost its mind over the whole AP wiretapping thing…they know damned good and well what they’re up to. They just didn’t want US to know.
Simply put, Mark, you are full of lies, and you are full of hate. There is nothing “alleged” about James Rosen’s reporting credentials. He is a reporter, and a bloody good one. He broke no laws. Eric Holder had better start updating his resume, because he won’t survive this scandal.
Hypocrisy personified,Faux”news”, rightwing shills calling Libs hate filled!
So other than political leanings, what’s the deference between that guy and the WIKILeaks people. Both set out to find and print classified documents that were politically damaging to the administration.
Given that many on the left seem to glorify the actions of the WL folks, what’s the delineation that was crossed by Rosen?
The difference is that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was merely a conduit through which Bradley Manning disseminated the info he had. Assange never recruited him or anyone else. But Rosen went out specifically to find someone who would steal the info for him. As such, he was not a news “reporter.” He was actually seeking to “make” the news. That’s the difference between a journalist and an activist.
So Rosen is their new guy?Last week the right’s go to guy in the Media was the bought and paid Koch Brothers butt boy,Jonathon Karl,that was until his email stories turned out to be nothing but internet fairy tales!
Just finished watching CNN’s “Reliable Sources”. Howard Kurtz had nobody on who would defend Holder’s witch hunt – probably because he couldn’t find anybody who was stupid enough to defend it. All his usual left-wing know-nothings – Bill Press, David Shuster, Cenk Ygur, Stephanie Miller – they all ran for the tall grass. Nobody is on board with this disgraceful move. Nobody.
That only proves that CNN and Kurtz are just as rabidly right-wing as the rest of the media. You think it’s a coincidence that they couldn’t find a spokesperson for the other side of this issue?
What are you smoking???? Howard Kurtz is not a right-winger by any stretch of the imagination. He happens to be pretty fair about his criticism of both sides of the aisle. Did you see him defend Rush Limbaugh after his “slut” comment? No. Conversely, he was one of the first media pundits to point out how wrong it was for left-wingers to blame Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck for the Gabby Giffords shooting.
Howard Kurtz displays a lot of integrity and fairness with his “Reliable Sources” show. That is inescapable.
Ironically, the defense was on Fox offered by Juan Williams, who tried to deny that Eric Holder was even involved in the issue, over the loud protests of everyone else on the panel pointed out that Holder obviously signed off on the request because he literally signed it.
One of the best (and most overlooked) gets on this is In The Matter of James Rosen over at Powerline, where the blogger guesses that the section:
reveals that there was so little attention paid to the actual facts in this case that a piece of boilerplate got recycled from another pleading.
What Williams is unwittingly suggesting is that running roughshod over press freedoms was de rigueur at the Holder DOJ, and the documents seeking access to reporters private data in the Rosen investigation was just one of a cookie cutter stream of them.
For what it’s worth, News Corp knew about this probe three years ago:
Do you know that to be the case, because the piece you’ve linked to makes that claim conditionally by using the attribution “…sources said Saturday?”
A named official at News Corp (Lawrence A. Jacobs, News Corp’s chief legal officer at the time), says,
There’s no question Fox screwed this up in some respects, and maybe they’ll find it all in their files, but considering how much effort the DOJ invested in keeping every other aspect of this secret (filing pleadings that they didn’t want to tip Rosen off) another “accidental oversight” that resulted in something less than full disclosure to Fox may be the next revelation in this case.
PBCliberal, this was covered extensively on Reliable Sources yesterday. NewsCorp knew, but they did not pass that along to Faux “News.”
Re: Reliable Sources, Kurtz only had journalists in this discussion and no critics of the propaganda channel that is Faux “News.”
In the interim since that show was recorded, the NYT and the LA Times have both quoted Jacobs as saying that Fox has no record of being notified and he doesn’t remember it and would have (the quote above is from the NYT story on it).
However, the WSJ quotes an unnamed spokeswoman at News Corp saying they were notified, and since the WSJ is a News Corp publication, you’d think they’d have access to a knowledgeable source.
I certainly don’t know whom to believe, but I tend to think the quoted source is more reliable than the unnamed one. So let me ask again: do you have any first hand knowledge about what they knew and when they knew it?
Of course Fox would come out and say they have no record. Are you saying someone is stupid enough to lie about notifying them. Come on now.
If they did, a copy of the correspondence should be very easy to produce, don’t you think?
“…the propaganda channel that is Faux News…”
Furthermore, Kurtz’ main objective is to bring analysis and critique of how the media in general covers news events. It is too simplistic to just bring on people who will only bad-mouth Fox News…or MSNBC…or any other media outlet.
Not lie. You may not be educated enough to understand the difference between news and propaganda. I hope this helps.
If not, I have a lot more. Just because you want to believe something does not make it true.
Kurtz had plenty of guests defending Rosen and no one to point out he was trying to “force the administration’s hand in the right direction.” That’s not journalism; it’s advocacy.
Yes, lie. Some website somewhere doesn’t like Fox News or Glenn Beck? Big fat hairy deal. And I am plenty well educated enough to make my own assessments about the worthiness of any news organization.
Scott, you’re not very well educated because you don’t know the difference between a “lie” and an informed opinion. You can disagree, but that doesn’t make the opinion a “lie.”
The main difference between a conservative news and opinion channel is the honesty and accuracy of the reporting. Fox has liars working for them, and Beck was the biggest liar.
Now, the equally uneducated Hannity is one of the biggest ignorant liars there.
Finally, Kurtz did not have ONE person critical of Fox. He could have had someone from Media Matters on the show, but he did not.
Rosen is a political operative; not a “journalist.”
Fox News: racist but watched by racists. There’s that too.
Yes, I am well educated, because I do know when somebody is telling a lie. That starts with the link you posted. That so-called professor proves my point. She actually claimed that Fox News promoted the birther conspiracy; they did no such thing. That professor’s research piece was worthless.
Fox does not have liars working for them; that label goes to the network that has Chris Matthews and previously had Keith “go f### your mother” Olbermann working for them.
James Rosen is a journalist. Period.
Fox News is not racist. If you want to watch racists, you can tune in to MSNBC and watch Al Sharpton.
At a recent award presentation here in town, Mother Jones’ David Corn about the divided world views created by the left and right media echo chambers. These create, not just two different sets about what to do policy-wise, but two different sets of understandings about reality, two different truths.
Fox had Beck and still have Eric Bolling: both are racists. Promoting racial equality (Sharpton) is not racist. Bolling, on the other hand, has a race problem:
As far as Matthews goes, I subscribe to the right-wing Media Research Center, and Matthews is one of their most reviewed commentators. He is virtually NEVER called out for lying. Bias? Yes. Hypocrisy? Occasionally, but NOT for lying.
Again, just because you WANT something to be a “fact,” doesn’t make it one.
Fox had The Donald on pushing his birther nonsense, and that is not the only example of Fox pushing the birther lie:
I could go on with more facts to refute your delusions, but I need to spend time on something more productive. With you, fact only backfire.
Neith er Beck nor Eric Bolling are racists. Al Sharpton is not only a racist but an anti-Semite; he called Jews “diamond merchants”.
CHris Matthews spewed again and again that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were partly to blame for the Gabby Giffords shooting. He even hypothesized that right-wingers might have been responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. And he told a Romney supporter the following about Benghazi: “It was all about the movie.” Chris Matthews lies continuosly lies. And so does Media Matters.
Birtherism is not racism; it is whack-job conspiracy mongering. Hannity kept saying that President could end this conspirac talk by showing his birth certificate. That’s the closest he ever came to the birther issue. And O’Reilly and the rest of the FNC crew completely shredded the birther issue.
I have given you the facts. You are wrong. Done, finished, it’s over.
So many absurd claims, it’s difficult to pick one to address.
Your assertion that Media Matters lies conveys nicely the extent to which you are ignorant about their mission and project along with the extent to which you have been programmed by Fox/Beck.
They want you to believe that Media Matters lies, so that you distrust their fact-checking. You don’t cite an example or offer a reference of Media Matters “lying” because 1) you can’t and 2) you don’t need to. You “know” they lie because the corporate propagandists want you to believe that, so you do.
You have not given any facts, but you’ve conveyed to us that you’re a gullible tool. Your education is clearly not in liberal arts, or you’d have better critical thinking skills. Instead, you have biased assimilation. You see the same events/facts/reality that I see, but your understanding is tinted by your wingnut values.
And, as is typical with reactionaries, you think that you have the last word after spewing a long list of bull$hit assertions.
The only think that’s “Done…over” is your ability to reason and understand the difference between propaganda and news.
I have staed fact after fact. The examples I gave about Chris Matthews lying are FACTS. My assertions are not BS, they are true.
One other note about Al Sharpton: “Promoting racial equality”? Slandering two police officers by claiming they raped somebody is not an example of promoting racial equalizty.
“CHris Matthews spewed again and again that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were partly to blame for the Gabby Giffords shooting.”
Until you quote exactly what he said, I can’t address that. You hear what you want to hear.
Your assertions are OPINIONS, and that is how I know you do not have a liberal arts degree. You do not know the difference between journalists and advocates, between lies and false claims or between statements of fact and opinions.
You lack basic critical thinking skills, and your assimilation of facts and opinions are biased by your reactionary values.
First of all, I hold a bachelor’s degree in Communications, so you know absolutely nothing about somebody you have never met.
Since you claim to subscribe to the MRC, all you have to do is go through the archives of Newsbusters, and that will point out Matthews non-stop dishonesty about the Gabby Giffords shooting. They also have the video where Matthews lied to a Romney supporter with his Benghazi line, “It was all about the video.”
Give me the links, Scott. “It was all about the video” out of context means nothing.
On the Newsbusters site:
Chris OR Matthews “liar” — Search
“Your search yielded no results”
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