On Monday, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” took the Obama administration to task over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. And this morning, host Joe Scarborough tackled yet another issue: The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) secretive collection of the Associated Press’ phone records.
Scarborough called the government’s act “sinister” and others on the panel, including Kathleen Carroll, the AP’s executive editor, and journalist Carl Bernstein agreed.
“Well, it’s clearly distressing to think that without our knowledge, someone is looking at phone calls that we make in the course of daily business,” Carroll said. “Obviously we find this very distressing.”
The host highlighted the sensitivity of journalists’ discussions with select sources, noting that secretive conversations would potentially be exposed by the government’s records-nabbing. Scarborough went on to characterize the unprecedented DOJ action as “chilling.”
“None of us have ever seen anything like this,” Carrol added, claiming that she has been in the business for over 30 years and that she and the First Amendment lawyers she’s spoken are shocked by the government’s actions.
Bernstein, of Watergate fame, also decried the actions, calling the AP phone record scandal “wrong” and an act of intimidation on behalf of the federal government.
“There’s no excuse for it whatsoever. There’s no reason for this investigation, especially on this scale,” he said. “The idea is to try and make an example of those people who talk to reporters.”
Watch the MSNBC discussion, below:
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