Risen stirs the White House, again

A recent Google news search shows no new information about Jeffrey Sterling, the Missouri resident and former CIA agent accused of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.

That doesn’t mean nothing has happened with Sterling. An upcoming meeting may mean a date for trial will be set soon. Once that happens, Sterling may get his chance in court.

Until then, members of the press get to sit back and watch the sniping between James Risen toward President Barack Obama and Obama toward the press in general.

Risen recently accepted the Elijah Parish Lovejoy award for journalism at Colby College in Maine. During his acceptance speech, Risen took a moment to lambaste Obama. According to the Washington Post, Risen said:

“I think [President] Obama hates the press. I think he doesn’t like the press and he hates leaks. I don’t think any of this would be happening under the Obama administration if Obama didn’t want to do it.” (read the story here)

Risen, who has been blasted by pundits on the right as a liberal activist because of his efforts during the Bush administration to uncover stories on national security. Those stories led to his book “State of War” which eventually led to the arrest and indictment of Sterling. (story here).

How those same pundits classify Risen’s consistent attacks on the current regime, definitely not a conservative administration, remains unanswered. Possibly because any answer would have to conclude that Risen is not as much a liberal advocate, or a conservative advocate, as just a reporter who must take an adversarial position against ANY presidential administration, regardless of political affiliation.

That would really be a blow to any narrative that preaches about the liberal press.

As for Obama, he has started firing back at the press, taking a jab during a press conference Oct. 7. President Obama called the press cynical, accused the press of focusing on the negative and not reporting the good news. (read story here)

At the same time, members of the admittedly conservative Wisconsin Reporter, a part of the media outlet of www.watchdog.org, were turned away from a Democratic rally in Madison, Wi. that featured First Lady Michelle Obama as the featured speaker. (story here.)

Keeping an eye on the Jeffrey Sterling story gives the reader plenty of interesting information. With the possibility of a trial date being set soon, the story should heat up.

Dr. Scott Lambert is an English/Journalism professor at Millikin University. Lambert’s interests are in sports media, media ethics and media history.