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Clay Calvert Comments on Off-the-Record Requests and Possible Treason

Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, was quoted in “President Trump, Proven Leaker” published in The Washington Post on June 21.

Clay Calvert

Erik Wemple, Post columnist and media critic, writes about a Time magazine interview with President Trump in the Oval Office. Trump’s concern that a letter from Kim Jong Un be kept off the record prompted him to threaten the reporter with repercussions if a photo of the letter was published.

“This is just Trump playing the same ‘virtual treason’ card he recently played with the New York Times but without explicitly using the word treason this time. There’s no way the Time magazine reporter would face prison time if he had photographed the letter and later published it,” said Calvert. “Trump’s remark intimates that publishing the contents of a letter from Kim Jong Un somehow threatens national security and thus is treasonous — that’s the only possible interpretation if Trump really believes the Time reporter could go to prison. The superseding indictment against Julian Assange charging him with treason for publishing information seems to be emboldening the president’s rhetoric and attacks against the press.”

Posted: June 24, 2019
Category: College News, First Amendment Project
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