Jill Abramson spoke out on Sunday about the New York Times' decision to boycott Eric Holder's meeting with news organizations, saying that the newspaper is worried that "the process of news gathering is being criminalized."
Attorney General Holder recently met with outlets to review the DOJ's guidelines for investigating journalists. The meeting, however, provoked even more controversy when it was announced that it would be off-the-record, prompting the Times among others to abstain from attending.
"To have this private meeting with the attorney general and not be able to share anything about it with our readers didn't seem to have a point to me," Abramson told Bob Schieffer on Sunday's "Face the Nation." "The Times and our readers are quite concerned about the six active criticism leak cases that the Obama administration has pursued. That's more than all the other administrations combined. And, you know, we are concerned that the process of news gathering is being criminalized."
Later, she added that it was important to remember that the public is probably less invested in the case than journalists, and more preoccupied with other issues like the state of the economy and the cost of health care. "Clearly, I'm very concerned about the leak cases... but I'm just not sure they come together and create know -- quote, unquote -- an atmosphere of scandal," Abramson said.
She also said that it was not just journalists or politicians who are concerned about the DOJ's actions, saying that judges in the leak cases have been critical of the department. "The reporters who work for the Times in Washington have told me many of their sources are petrified even to return calls... it has a real practical effect that is important."