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Abuse of power': NY Times, Wash. Post, USA Today come down on Justice Dept. for AP scandal

National papers react to the developing conflict between the Associated Press and the Department of Justice, which secretly obtained phone records of AP reporters and editors in 2012, supposedly for national security purposes...

New York Times: "We are not convinced. For more than 30 years, the news media and the government have used a well-honed system to balance the government’s need to pursue criminals or national security breaches with the media’s constitutional right to inform the public. This action against The A.P. ... 'calls into question the very integrity' of the [Obama] administration’s policy toward the press."

Washington Post: "Whatever national-security enhancement this was intended to achieve seems likely to be outweighed by the damage to press freedom and governmental transparency."

USA Today: "Another day, another excessive use of government power by the Obama administration. ... At first blush, seizing reporters' records might sound too arcane to be of much public interest. But that's far from the case. When the Justice Department grabs reporters' phone records, it insulates the administration from the scrutiny that a free press is supposed to provide. ... This administration needs some hard thinking about abuse of power."

The Wall Street Journal, another national publication, has yet to editorialize on the issue.

@eScarry

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