Seven years with the threat of jail hanging over your head seems a lot worse than being excluded from an informal briefing with the press secretary on a Friday afternoon — especially when the content of that briefing would be available from pool reporters. But I lost count of all the cable heads saying in their best ominous voices last weekend how “chilling” Trump’s action was.
Risen, a Puilitzer Prize winner, doesn’t need me to make his case. Read his Times article published Dec. 30, 2016, under the headline: “If Donald Trump targets journalists, thank Obama.”
Or, how about George W. Bush, who suddenly found himself aflame with First Amendment fervor this week in talking about the need for a free press? Bush’s Justice Department helped put Judith Miller, then a New York Times reporter, in jail for three months for refusing to testify about her sources in the criminal leak case on the outing of Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. agent.
And it’s not just the narrative of Trump as worst enemy of the press. Trump is also charged in some quarters with being the biggest liar ever — or, at least, a kind of liar never before seen in the White House.