By Jon Dougherty
Real-life and conservative hero Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) took his Left-wing Democratic colleague Eric Swalwell of California to task on Tuesday over the latter’s attempt to blaspheme POTUS Donald Trump regarding the First Amendment.
The exchange began with a tweet fromÂ CNN Marshall Cohen, who noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed two laws aimed at his country’s media industry. Specifically, the Russian leader promised to crack down severely on journalists who produced “fake news” or showed “disrespect” toward government officials.
Real authoritarian stuff. But then, Russian leaders are not beholden to a founding document that protects journalists, journalism, and a free press.
NEW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two new laws that impose strict prohibitions on Internet activities and speech. They allow Russian authorities to jail or fine people who spread "fake news" or if they "disrespect" government officials online. (h/t @maryilyushina)
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) March 18, 2019
Swalwell, who actually used to be deputy district attorney so we assume he understands our Constitution, retweeted Cohen and added, “I will do everything physically possible â€” march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind â€” to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump will try. And I know youâ€™re with me. Not on our watch.â€
I will do everything physically possible — march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind — to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump will try. And I know you’re with me. Not on our watch. https://t.co/OVfKdVGQXc
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 18, 2019
Of course, Swalwell was referencing President Trump’s very frequent criticism of the establishment media, which has been frequently — and uncharacteristically — critical of him. At last measure, something like 92 percent of all media coverage of him and his administration was negative.
Not only that, but there have been multiple fake news stories published about him and the very bogus, very manufactured Russian collusion narrative which, as investigative ace journalist Paul Sperry reported in our pages today,Â is continuing andÂ will continue into and beyond the 2020 election cycle.
The point is if any president in recent history has had a legitimate reason to not simply complain about the media’s coverage but label them “fake news” and “enemies of the people,” it’s POTUS Trump.
More than anything, Swalwell’s ridiculous statementÂ is political malpractice at best and incitement of the increasingly angry and deranged Democratic base at worst. To even suggest that this president (or Congress) would move to legally punish journalists or news outlets critical of the administration is absurd.
Former Navy SEAL officer and wounded vet Crenshaw couldn’t let Swalwell get away with massive hypocrisy, either.
â€œAgree. Defend #1A,â€ he tweeted. â€œTruth is, weâ€™ve been worried ever since:
â€œ1. Obama ACTUALLY put journalists under investigation (Not threatened on Twitter. Actually did it)
â€œ2. Dems have been urging limits to speech on social media platforms.
â€œThat said, Iâ€™d march with ya.â€
As Crenshaw alluded, it was President Obama who was the real enemy of journalists and journalism — and many ofÂ them said so as well. The Obama administration pursued more prosecutions of journalists under the Espionage Act than any president before him, chilling freedom of the press in a way that the media had never seen in decades.
TheÂ Columbia Journalism Review noted in 2013:
Since 2009, the Obama administration has prosecuted more people as whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all former presidents combined, a fact often rehashed in journalistic circles. In some of those cases, officialsÂ seized journalistsâ€™ phone and email records to use in their investigation. James Goodale, who wasÂ The New York Timesâ€™ chief counsel during Pentagon Papers coverage,Â has told CJR that Obamaâ€™s aggressive crackdown on whistleblowers is â€œantediluvian, conservative, backwards. Worse than Nixon. He thinks that anyone who leaks is a spy! I mean, itâ€™s cuckoo.â€
Obama’s actions against the press were not “conservative” — they wereÂ Obama. He promised to be the ‘most transparent president ever,’ but like Obamacare, he lied about that too.
Swalwell knows all this. He didn’t need Crenshaw’s reminder. But it’s good to see the rising GOP star holding Democratic feet to the fire.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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