Stonewalled | Sharyl Attkisson

Summary of: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington
By: Sharyl Attkisson

Introduction

As President Obama promised an era of transparency and openness, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson discovered a different reality. In her book ‘Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington’, she uncovers an administration that obstructs and manipulates the press. This summary reveals how press freedom has suffered during the Obama era, alternative means the government uses to control its narratives, and how journalistic integrity is under threat. It also delves into specific instances where the administration desperately tried to cover up its failures and silence investigative reporting.

Obama’s Broken Promise

President Obama’s promise to open up the government has failed as press freedom declines due to unprecedented obstructionism. The White House excludes the press from events of public interest and circumvents tough questions from traditional news media outlets. Reporters Without Borders has downgraded America’s press freedom ranking since Obama took office, and the administration prefers to produce its own content using channels that it can control more easily.

The Threat to Journalistic Objectivity

The Obama Administration’s actions towards journalists and how it threatens journalistic objectivity and freedom of the press.

The Obama Administration’s time in office saw a worrying trend of journalists who criticized or disclosed sensitive information being shut out from interviews. Investigative reporters also faced legal action and threats when uncovering scandals that could damage the administration’s reputation. Leading news organizations such as CBS and C-Span have been warned or blocked from access to the president after disobeying government requests. The Administration’s actions towards journalists have raised concerns about the objectivity and freedom of the press.

The Deceptive World of Astroturfing

Astroturfing is the practice of deceiving people by creating fake grassroots support for products, groups, or policies to manipulate public opinion. This strategy is used by public relations firms to promote their clients’ interests by creating the illusion of genuine public support. Astroturfing is prevalent online, where it is difficult to identify the true identity of someone promoting a product or idea. The practice is so effective that politicians use it to sway public opinion in their favor. While it may seem harmless, astroturfing can have a significant impact on consumer choices, media reporting, and public opinion.

Government Surveillance of Investigative Journalists

Investigative journalists face challenges in their work as they encounter government surveillance while trying to uncover the truth behind corrupt systems. The government goes to great lengths to identify leaks and sources in an attempt to control leaked information. Leaks and information received by journalists were often obtained by whistleblowers within the government. The author, an investigative journalist, shares her own experience of government surveillance, where spyware infiltrated her computer and made financial accounts and passwords vulnerable. This kind of government surveillance threatens journalistic integrity and freedom. Despite such challenges, investigative journalism is crucial in exposing corruption and maintaining transparency in government systems.

ATF’s Botched Operation

The ATF carried out an operation named “Fast and Furious,” where they enabled registered gun dealers to sell firearms to gun traffickers, knowing they would end up in the hands of Mexican drug dealers. Although the bureau claimed to track the firearms, most of them remained unaccounted for and were used to commit crimes, including the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation resulted in the deaths of many innocent people, and not a single cartel leader was arrested. Despite ATF special agents and cooperating gun dealers expressing their concerns about this operation, it continued for years. This catastrophic operation raises serious questions about the ATF’s actions and whether other government agencies were aware of it.

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