Look around today, and it's easy to find a news story or column criticizing President Obama and his Justice Department for going after reporters' phone records. (Like these in the Washington Post, Politico, and the New York Times.) To which Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian can only say, it's about time. The Obama administration, he writes, has been trampling civil liberties from the get-go and getting a free pass from the media. But now that the media is the target, there's suddenly hell to pay.
"For years, the Obama administration has been engaged in pervasive spying on American Muslim communities and dissident groups," writes Greenwald. Don't forget its renewal of the Patriot Act, its embrace of warrantless eavesdropping, and its overzealous prosecution of whistleblowers. The media largely stayed silent. "Leave to the side how morally grotesque it is to oppose rights assaults only when they affect you," he writes. "The pragmatic point is that it is vital to oppose such assaults in the first instance no matter who is targeted because such assaults, when unopposed, become institutionalized." If a GOP president had Obama's record on civil liberties and transparency, progressives would be outraged, writes Greenwald. And he thinks a crucial aspect of Obama's legacy is how much he has "transformed and degraded so many progressive precincts." Click for the full, scathing column.