"The relationship between the presidency and press has always been uneasy.... However, it has come to pass that the current administration has engaged in a number of practices and has enacted a series of severe and extraordinary policies that attack the press specifically and by extension, democracy itself."
-- Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
On August 4, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) passed a resolution, the first major statement against the policies of a president since the Vietnam War.
The key passage is: "The membership of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication urges the Bush administration to abandon its anti-press policies." The resolution identifies ten troubling practices involving secrecy, propaganda and the control of information. It recognizes that there is always tension between presidents and the press.
"This tension is both unavoidable and generally salutary: When each side conducts its duties with honesty and integrity, both hold the power of the other in check." The ten practises in question:
1. The Bush administration's response to press requests for information;
2. The Bush administration's use of staged town meetings;
3. The Bush administration's vision of the government as a private domain;
4. The Bush administration's practice of massive reclassification of documents;
5. The Bush administration's support of policies that weaken the multiplicity of voices on a local and national scale;
6. The Bush administration's policy of not allowing photographs of coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq to be released;
7. The Bush administration's use of propaganda, including video news releases;
8.The Bush administration's use of bribes and payments to columnists and other opinion makers;
9. The Bush administration's manipulation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and
10. The Bush administration's using the courts to pressure journalists to give up their sources and to punish them for obtaining leaked information.