Washington Post: President Obama’s Pledge of “Unprecedented Openness” Violated By Closed, Secretive Administration

220px-Washington_Post_buildingPresident_Barack_ObamaWe have previously discussed the criticism of reporters, newspapers like the New York Times, and international groups that President Obama has run one of the most hostile Administrations in history to press freedom and public openness. Now that Democratic stalwart, the Washington Post, has joined in the chorus of critics, detailing the secretive, almost Nixonian culture of the Obama Administration in a new article.

The article by Paul Farhi, details the story of how the Obama Administration actively blocked the efforts of Palm Beach Post reporter Stacey Singer in her effort to confirm reports of a tuberculosis outbreak in the Jacksonville area.
The Post notes

“Singer’s experience is shared by virtually every journalist on the government beat, from the White House on down. They can recite tales with similar outlines: An agency spokesman — frequently a political appointee — rejects the reporter’s request for interviews, offers partial or nonresponsive replies, or delays responding at all until after the journalist’s deadline has passed.

Interview requests that are granted are closely monitored, reporters say, with a press “minder” sitting in. Some agencies require reporters to pose their questions by e-mail, a tactic that enables officials to carefully craft and vet their replies.

Tensions between reporters and public information officers — “hacks and flacks” in the vernacular — aren’t new, of course. Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give.

But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring “an unprecedented level of openness” to the federal government.”

What is fascinating is that despite a record of investigating reporters, tapping their phones, and threatening them with jail (as well as a scorched Earth campaign against whistleblowers), many reporters remain largely muted in their criticism and privately support the Administration. It is a remarkable disconnect in the media. That has not changed even after last summer when 38 organizations representing journalists and press-freedom advocates accused the Administration of “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies” and referred to the Obama Administration’s restrictions on media as “a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”

This month, the nonprofit Center for Effective Government gave eight of the 15 agencies a “D” for their compliance (or lack of compliance) with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The highest performing agency was the Department of Agriculture with a mediocre “B.” Two agencies received “F” grades: The Department of State and Department of Health and Human Services. The “D” group included two D minus grades for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Defense. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was among the D grades. What is really frightening is that having two failures and eight near failures with Ds was a slight improvement for the Administration. With only two years left, the Obama Administration has racked up one of the most closed and secretive records of any modern presidency.

Just for the purposes of historical record, President Obama ran on creating the most transparent Administration in history and then made this pledge in 2009 specifically referring to FOIA to the American people:

80 thoughts on “Washington Post: President Obama’s Pledge of “Unprecedented Openness” Violated By Closed, Secretive Administration”

  1. TJustice, the KING of the British Empire was the same but different DICTATOR as the DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT.

    The PROLETARIAT being everyone dependent and on the public dole by welfare check or paycheck (certainly all the unions are paid of with taxpayer dollars, GM’s UAW for example).

    IMAGINE an environment of FREEDOM where no dictatorship existed.

    There would be blessed neutrality; no bias, no welfare, no affirmative action, no compelled “morality” or lack thereof, etc.

    Simply neutrality.

    Isn’t that what the Founders established?

    A neutral environment conducive to freedom, free enterprise and human endeavor, understanding that people are self-reliant and autonomous?

    Liberal collectivists DICTATE every aspect of every person’s life from ridiculous government jobs and paychecks for their benefactors, to the mystical and incoherent, compulsory metamorphosis of homosexuality form perversion to normalcy.

    Understanding that people live with the consequences and that government cannot take a freedom from one man to provide a benefit to another, the American thesis was/is Freedom and Self-Reliance. Not Slavery and Government Provision.

  2. Right now, the minimum wage seems arbitrary, and its increases seem arbitrary. We must decide what it must be based on – rent for a room or rent for a house? Groceries for one person or groceries for a family of 5? Make the decision, and then tie it to inflation with increases happening every set number of years so business owners can plan and adjustments can be made if there are negative consequences.

    We cannot have labor costs doubling, even when it’s phased in over a few years.

  3. Daycare costs about $1,000/month here in CA. That is also supposed to be covered by minimum wage. Get to 3 kids under school age and we’re talking a lot of money.

    1. Karen S

      Having 3 Kids and being on a stipend is a sad place to be. You have to work 2 jobs and hope for the best. If you can’t afford Daycare, you must move. I have been there so I know about it. I lost the kids in custody wars so it’s tough. But we are now pushing 50 million on Social Security so where is the money going to come from tax wise and further more, that simply does not work. Macro Economics is a failure. Demand side economics is just as much a failure as supply side. The only way is to balance a check book and learn to live within your means and try to make better decisions. It is awful to pay for mistakes but sometimes it is what we have to do. It is called personal responsibility

  4. Squeaky – I get your point about the calculations, but those calculations are far different if you estimate the rent for a room for a single person, vs the rent for a 4 bedroom apartment to support a family of 5 on a single income. The argument for doubling the minimum wage that I have heard here in CA is that it’s impossible for single mothers to support their large families by themselves on minimum wage. That’s what makes those numbers spiral out of control, and $15/hr won’t be enough, either. Rent also wildly fluctuates depending on where you are. The rent on a tiny apartment can be $2600, depending on the county.

    Is minimum wage supposed to supply a teenager with a room to rent, 2nd hand furniture, no TV, and pizza every week or support 5 kids, team sports, a plasma TV, and a 4 bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood? People can’t even agree on that, which is what makes this so hard.

  5. The basic question for minimum wage is what should it accomplish? Is the purpose of the minimum wage to support a family of five with a single income in a middle class lifestyle? Is its purpose to pay people for the absolutely most entry level work and teach them job skills?

    The vast majority of people get promoted out of minimum wage within a year, underlining its purpose as a training position.

    Do you pay a teenage babysitter enough to support a family of 5? The paper boy? My first job as a 16 year old was cleaning out cages at a pet store. I got a raise after 3 months. I cannot imagine making the same then as I did as a college graduate.

    I think the minimum wage should be tied to inflation so you can always count on its value. But it makes no sense to me making a training position pay the same as a college graduate entry level position.

    If the people decide that the minimum wage SHOULD provide a middle class lifestyle for a family of 5 on a single income, then there are going to be far less of those types of jobs available. And remember that doubling the minimum wage means that all wages have to increase by the same amount. Because how are you going to explain to the college graduate that he’s now making minimum wage? And it will just move up all the way to the CEO.

    Remember, most people get promoted out of minimum wage because it is a training position, and never intended to be a career.

  6. @KarenS

    I agree with you that the minimum wage should be higher, and constantly adjusted to keep up with what it costs to maintain a minimal living. The issue is really pretty simple:

    If an employer does not pay his/her employee enough to pay rent, buy food, pay for utilities, a car, health care, and basics, then who picks up the slack??? The answer is- – – the taxpayers!

    But, people wishing to game the system sit back and allow this happen, and over time the minimum wage falls further and further behind, and then there has to be huge changes to it to get it caught up. This would not have happened had it been adjusted regularly.

    Plus I hate that tired old conservative/libertarian foolishness about “Why not make it $100 per hour???” That is the dumbest most inane foolish nonsensical dumb comment a human being can make. What it does is slyly avoid the topic and saysin effect, “The minimum wage is just an arbitrary number plucked out of thin air.”

    Which it isn’t. It is just a minimum estimated amount that it takes to keep body and soul together. Anybody who lives in the real world, and who has a lick of sense, can take a pencil and a piece of paper and sit down and start figuring what a basic food budget is, basic apartment or trailer rent, basic utilities, basic phone bill, basic transportation needs, health care, etc. for a month. Then divide by the average number of work hours a month, which I think is 40 x 4.33 or about 173 hours, and you have the amount. Which is usually about $15 per hour, give or take a few bucks.

    But, people don’t even give 40 hours weeks anymore as a standard. Sooo, to keep Target from suffering if they do the right thing while Wal Mart doesn’t, or Wendy’s from suffering if they give raises and McDonalds doesn’t, the government can mandate the same playing field for everybody.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. Some people will literally never change their minds. Their own party called them stupid, lied to them, flout the law, hide information from journalists, threaten journalists, illegally spy on Americans, use the IRS against Americans they disagree with, sabotage the economy and then import vast droves of illegal immigrants to compete for the few remaining entry level jobs because the more people on Welfare, the more votes they have. It’s Orwellian, but the same people will just keep voting for them literally no matter what they do. They could probably drown kittens and they would excuse that, too.

    1. I can’t hear you I can’t see you I will speak only angelic lies of you. 😉

  8. Sandi – many of those who signed up for the ACA, like me, had insurance but lost it because of the ACA. We’re included in that figure. It can’t be fixed because you can’t add all those benefits and subsidized customers without jacking premiums through the roof and cutting formularies and doctor networks. And since the government mandates these benefits, you can’t even shop around anymore. For me, personally, I would rather have a few less “free” birth control options, or have a modest copay, and be able to afford my premiums and deductibles, but Liberals think I’m too stupid to make my own decisions about my health insurance. They think the American voters are stupid, too. That’s on record.

  9. Obama’s administration will not charge Lois Lerner with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer their questions about the IRS targeting conservatives.

    No consequences for her actions.

    Hillary Clinton did not give the State Department all of her emails to review and determine if they agreed with her assessment of what was public and what private, before she left office. Then she wiped her server clean, after she had been subpoenaed to provide Benghazi emails.

    No consequences for her actions.

    We are just sheep instilling a government feudal system outside the rule of law and throwing away the freedoms, and control over our own government, that our founders bled for.

    Hillary Clinton broke the law, lied, and committed major ethics violations that are well documented, but her fans just love her and will continue to vote for her.


  10. This entire Coments section could be a college course!

    EPA – Through it’s onerous rules businesses are kept from creating jobs. It is that simple. Also, they claim control over private property for ridiculous reasons. One was a river changed its course, via nature, so that privately held land was now a river controlled by Feds. Owner could not graze cattle within hundreds of feet of “new” river. Fewer grazing lands, fewer cattle raised, fewer jobs overseeing them, fewer transported and less meat provided, less $$$ to owner of land.

    ACA – we are told that 11 million have signed up for ACA this year, whoopee! But 40+ million didn’t have insurance. So 1/3 of uninsured may be insured. Unless some of that 11 million had insurance, but took ACA for cost reasons. And ACA is not about health care, it is about insurance. People on Medicaid don’t pay for it. To fix it will be as hard as the civil war.

    Higher Minimum Wage – businesses are closing in Seattle because the can’t pay $15 minimum wage and provide any profit. No profit, no business.

    Harry Reid – An evil man that someone beat the crap out of last December.

    Hillary Clinton – has broken the law, but laws don’t apply to her, so no big deal.

    Iran – if the food in Geneva wasn’t some of the best in the world, they ‘d all go home!

    We are a representative republic. Our representatives are elected democratically.

    Being gay is not a religion, so not protected by 1st Amendment. Freedom of religion means no one can force a different religion on me and my religionous beliefs are paramount.

    Now, can someone explain to me why 6% (estimated % of gays in US) can tear our 1st Amendment to shreds? Jewis bakers do not bake cakes for Catholic weddings on Saturdays, because it is their sabbath and respected/protected by 1st Anendment. We bend over backwards to accommodate the Muslim religion and don’t force them to admit gays (who would be thrown off buildings). Our religious freedom is a right. Getting a cake baked for a wedding is not. This is an artificial trumped by gay activists to cause problems.

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