Liberal Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott hit President Obama for urging healing after race riots and a militarized police response in a St. Louis suburb, arguing that his administration “has presided over the enlargement of the problem” of a deep distrust in authority.
In a post published Thursday afternoon, Kennicott — who wrote in 2009 that the Obama “Joker” posters were racist and gushed over the artistic value of a White House PR photo after Obama’s reelection in 2012 — explicitly accuses Barack Obama of furthering many of the values and policies used by the St. Louis County Police Department in their heavy-handed crackdown on largely peaceful protesters.
Kennicott waited until the end of his piece to slam the president, spending most of the column discussing how the pictures emanating from St. Louis speak to a broad distrust of authority across the United States. But when he does, he pulls no punches:
“On Thursday, President Obama weighed in, calling for healing. But when it comes to the distrust of authority, he has presided over the enlargement of the problem. The head of the CIA has been caught lying, but hasn’t been punished; the security state has expanded its powers to include pervasive domestic spying, with access to our telephone calls, our e-mails and our online lives. And the rise of what one critic calls “The Warrior Cop” hasn’t slackened since President Obama took office. The detainment of journalists, on Wednesday, by police in Ferguson may seem like just more bad optics in St. Louis County; but a 2013 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists claims the current administration has been one of the most aggressive ever in limiting press access, guarding information, pursuing leaks and whistleblowers, and limiting transparency.”
Kennicott isn’t the only journalist to call out the Obama administration for its hypocrisy on the issue. After a DOJ spokesman tweeted praise for two journalists briefly detained by the Ferguson Police Department, CNN reporter Jake Tapper shot back a snarky reply:
.@brianefallon how do you distinguish between the “gutsy” reporters and the one the administration is threatening to put in jail?
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 14, 2014
The Obama administration is currently pushing New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal a national security source, threatening him with jail time if he refuses to comply.