This week, there’s been a lot of talk in the media about whistleblowers. Should they be identified? Should they be punished for their actions?
The recent whistleblower — having leaked a phone transcript that reveals information about the president’s shady business with Ukraine — has been the topic of conversation among senators, congressmen and the press. Everyone has an opinion about it. On Sunday, as part of their Impeachment Inquiry series, NBC published an article centered around GOP senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson’s comments against the whistleblower and the information leaked.
On the issue, Johnson said: “It’s going to be very difficult for future presidents to have a very candid conversation with a world leader because now we’ve set the precedent of leaking transcripts. The weakening of executive privilege is not good. And by the way, these individuals that leaked this, if their interest was a stronger relationship with Ukraine, they did not accomplish this. Having this all come out into public has weakened that relationship and exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed.”
Johnson went on to argue that “this would have been far better off if we would have just taken care of this behind the scenes.”
It’s utterly clear that Johnson is not happy with the leak. While his intentions may be nothing other than wanting to keep things quiet and protect the country’s relationship with Ukraine, his words should concern anyone who supports free press. And for the record, saying that something should have been taken care of behind the scenes doesn’t make it sound any less shady.
Regardless of the whistleblower’s intentions or of the impact of the leak, keeping the American public informed about the political happenings of their country is, in my opinion, a more just cause than the strength of “executive privilege.” The purpose of the press is to bring issues like this one to light — to act as the fourth branch that checks the power of the rest of the government. Johnson said the whistleblower exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed, but if the president is engaging in activity that puts impeachment into question, that IS information that needs to be exposed and that should be protected by the First Amendment.