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Jake Tapper Slams Obama Admin for Treatment of Fox News Reporter

CNN's Jake Tapper took Obama's Justice Department to task on his Wednesday afternoon show, sounding alarm over the "precedent" that the administration's investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen would set.

Tapper directly challenged liberal defenders of President Obama: "But even if you side with this President over those of us in the media who challenge him in his administration, it is important to remember the precedent these actions set going forward. Perhaps when it's not your guy in the White House."

[Video below. Audio here.]

According to Tapper, the Justice Department labeled Rosen a "co-conspirator for soliciting information from a State Department contractor for a story." The agency went so far as to seize the phone records of Rosen's parents and other phone lines connected with Fox News.

Even very liberal journalists like Jonathan Alter have lashed out at Obama over the Rosen incident. Alter admitted it was "disturbing," while the New York Times's Michael Shear called it "absolutely chilling."

"Keep in mind there's no allegation that James Rosen bribed, threatened, coerced anyone to get the information, which is what journalists do. We try to get information, especially information that the government doesn't want us to share with you," Tapper told his audience on Wednesday.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on May 22 on The Lead at 4:22 p.m. EDT:

JAKE TAPPER: In the politics lead, a Fox News reporter is caught in the middle of what's being sarcastically called "a conspiracy to commit journalism." Not only did the Justice Department label James Rosen a co-conspirator for soliciting information from a State Department contractor for a story, but Fox News is now reporting that the Department of Justice even seized the phone records of Rosen's parents and of at least five other phone lines associated with Fox News. Earlier this week The Washington Post reported that the FBI sought and received a warrant to search Rosen's e-mail back in 2010 to find the source of a leak. Keep in mind there's no allegation that James Rosen bribed, threatened, coerced anyone to get the information, which is what journalists do. We try to get information, especially information that the government doesn't want us to share with you. Here's what White House press secretary Jay Carney had to say when asked about the incident earlier this week.

(Video Clip)

JAY CARNEY: I cannot comment on a specific, ongoing investigation. I certainly share, and I think most Americans do, the President's belief that we need to have, you know, a press that is able to pursue investigative journalism, and that we have to defend the First Amendment. I also think it's very important, as I think members of both parties have said, that we need to make sure that leaks are not tolerated, because leaks that can endanger the lives of our men and women and endanger our national security need to be taken very seriously.

(End Video Clip)

TAPPER: In an opinion piece, the New York Times, which is of course very supportive of President Obama, the editorial page, accused the Obama administration of going overboard to find and muzzle insiders in the government, saying, quote, "Obama administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a co-conspirator, on top of other zealous and secretive investigations, shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press," unquote.

Now, I'm a journalist. Obviously I have a bias here. But even if you side with this President over those of us in the media who challenge him in his administration, it is important to remember the precedent these actions set going forward. Perhaps when it's not your guy in the White House.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center