Flickr arioIn a memo that was circulated to the network’s employees on Thursday, Fox News President Roger Ailes pushed back against what he called the Obama administration’s “attempt to intimidate Fox News.”
Ailes was forcefully responding to new revelations surrounding a 2009 leak investigation, in which the Justice Department obtained a search warrant to view personal communications from Fox News reporter James Rosen.
In the search warrant, an FBI agent labelled Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in leaking the information. On Thursday, NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported that Eric Holder personally signed off on the search warrant, placing him at the centre of this clash.
The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States. We reject the government’s efforts to criminalise the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterise a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a “co-conspirator” in a crime. I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it. The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.
I am proud of your tireless effort to report the news over the last 17 years. I stand with you, I support you and I thank you for your reporting with courageous optimism. Too many Americans fought and died to protect our unique American right of press freedom. We can’t and we won’t forget that. To be an American journalist is not only a great responsibility, but also a great honour. To be a Fox journalist is a high honour, not a high crime. Even this memo of support will cause some to demonize us and try to find irrelevant things to cause us to waver. We will not waver.
As Fox News employees, we sometimes are forced to stand alone, but even then when we know we are reporting what is true and what is right, we stand proud and fearless. Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts.
In a major foreign policy speech on Thursday, President Barack Obama defended the administration’s policy on leak investigations. But he admitted that he was “troubled” about its potential effects on stymieing investigative journalism.
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