Off the record about journalist harassment

How ironic: Attorney General Eric Holder thinks the Justice Department ought to have full access to how journalists report the news, and even to some reporters’ personal communications. But he does not believe the American public has a right to know what is said during meetings planned between government officials and news media representatives.

Holder’s snoops have unconstitutionally looked at journalists’ phone records and email messages, it has been revealed. The attorney general apparently hopes a feel-good meeting among journalists and DOJ staff, held Thursday, will smooth all that over.

But Holder wanted the meeting to be off the record. Some news organizations, including The Associated Press, balked at that. A few others did not, and sent representatives to the meeting. As it turned out, they talked about what was said.

Journalists who rejected Holder’s attempt to keep a lid on the meeting were right to do so. The public has a right to know everything he and his staff have to say about unconstitutional harassment of journalists.