Secretary of State Pompeo's attacks on the media threaten freedom of speech around the world
Added 02-15-20 11:14:02am EST - “The US is supposed to stand for the freedom of the press and speech around the world, but Secretary Pompeo's attacks on the media undermine that idea.” - Businessinsider.com
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There were those who prodded and pursued what at the Embassy believed were irrelevant issues. Some really seemed to be pushing your buttons to make a story of your overreaction. Yet, I always saw a key part of my job as defending their right to run us foreign service officers through the ringer and write what they would.
Over the course of his time at the State Department, Secretary Mike Pompeo has had a pretty strained relationship with journalists. Sometimes it has spilled over into outright hostility and harassment.
The latest and most prominent case involved NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. This worrisome pattern is about much more than pushing the limits of propriety and Pompeo's temper.
There is a reason diplomats and people representing America abroad placed the principle of press freedom over the immediate pressure to advance our policies. These foreign journalists were the same ones who posed tough questions of their leaders. Even if they weren't objective or able to scrutinize others in the same way, our willingness to engage set a powerful example.
Attacking reporters also bruises those who support us and what we stand for around the globe. Berating the press equally blemishes our standing on the world stage. Blocking them also blocks our ability to pressure democratically-deficient leaders. In short, Pompeo's troubling treatment of the journalists that cover him ends up putting American interests abroad in real trouble.
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