90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Floyd Abrams On Obama Vs. Nixon

Attorney Floyd Abrams — one of the country’s leading authorities on the First Amendment — joined us today to talk about revelations that the Justice Department seized two months of phone records from the Associated Press.

Abrams spoke to the scale and seriousness of the investigation that had been revealed, in particular the breadth of the phone records that had been seized.

“The Department of Justice now sits with an enormous amount of information about who called in  and who called out, about stories having nothing to do with this investigation. While they tell us they’re not going to look at it, they don’t care about that stuff, that’s not the way we behave in a democratic society, First-Amendment-Protected society. We wouldn’t need a First Amendment otherwise! We generally proceed on the basis that the government is capable of, and sometimes does, act very badly indeed with information, let alone information they shouldn’t have. So it’s a very major step, very major, for them to go in and — in effect — act no different than if they had sent FBI personnel right into the AP offices and said, give us your phone records, just give them to us.”

Abrams also responded to a caller who compared the recent scandals over IRS scrutiny of conservative groups and the seizure of AP phone records to some of the actions of the Nixon administration.

“The Nixon administration aimed at political enemies. And we ought to make very sure that what the IRS was doing, even though it obviously focused on conservative groups, that at least it didn’t come from the White House. And if it didn’t, that would be a very big distinction from anything in the Nixon administration. So far as we know, the President doesn’t have an enemies list, which President Nixon had.”

Abrams also identified himself as an “Obama voter,” and cautioned that political leanings should not affect how anyone reacts to the current administration’s actions.

“If this were Nixon, or if this were a Republican president, a lot of us who voted for President Obama would be absolutely up in arms, and we should be no less so because we happen to agree with the administration on other issues.”

You can listen to the full segment with Floyd Abrams here:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment