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. “Name one open, non-secretive presidential administration over the last 100 years.”

    The salient point made by Professor Turley and the Liberal press is that this is the LEASE transparent and the most hostile to journalists President in our history.

    How is it relevant that other presidents were 46% as bad?

    Are we going to do something to stop this trend or keep excusing it? My God. What is the next president going to get away with using Obama as an excuse???

  2. Richard,

    I think that’s a great point. The Founding Fathers and most of our leaders since them have carried on their proud mantle of anti-democratic action. A government firmly against the masses in most cases. So much to be proud of…

  3. Happy Pappies,

    The American Founders gave us “a republic, if we can keep it.” The vote was restricted to European males, aged 21 with 50lbs Sterling. The Founders feared a vote of the working masses as they established a “restricted-vote republic. The Founders never intended to be a one-man, one-vote democracy.

    To wit:

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

    1. Richard Regarding the 50 pounds sterling and white male voters of yesteryear.

      Isn’t it grand we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights that some of us are still interested in defending and fighting over? We have come a long ways since then.

      Have you seen how wonderful the virtual media has made it to get in touch with your government, Congresspeople and to keep up virtually with everything imaginable regarding our rights these days?

      Now, the thing I truly don’t understand about the people who wanted the Federalist Papers rather than the Constitution we have now is they saw what happened in ancient Greece.

      And as far as a Democracy goes, all of the worship of Hollywood and pretty talk of the people and building of Art Beauty and Love will once again end up in Smoke like the Acropolis did and the Golden age of Greece when Pericles was done with it and had his fun with Sparta in the Peloponnesian wars for 27 years or so.

      Yes, The Social Security Office told me there were 50 million people receiving help when I sat on hold for an hour and I was told that was a conservative estimate.

      What do you think?

  4. Name one open, non-secretive presidential administration over the last 100 years.

  5. Previous posts on the “unaffordable Affordable Care Act and American ideology as “democracy” – not.

    –“#1 – Even the architects of Obamacare admitted that it is unaffordable. That is why they delayed the employer mandate. That is not called “working.””

    –“By America, you mean voting America. First, America did not become a “democracy” until the majority of its citizens could exercise the right to vote.”

    ******************** ACA

    It’s not that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable, it’s that it is unconstitutional. No matter how much you like it, in America, you can’t do it.

    The question begs: How many times in American history was action taken together or separately by the legislative and executive branches? How many times were related actions taken by the SCOTUS? Had the SCOTUS executed its sole constitutional duty to ASSURE THAT ACTIONS COMPORT WITH LAW, 90% of the actions taken by the other two branches would have been denied as unconstitutional.

    The singular American failure is the judicial branch; the Supreme Court.

    ******************** “democracy”

    The American Founders gave us “a republic, if we can keep it.” The vote was restricted to European males, aged 21 with 50lbs Sterling. The Founders feared a vote of the working masses as they established a “restricted-vote republic. The Founders never intended to be a one-man, one-vote democracy.
    To wit:

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

    Oh yeah, “democracy’s” a problem, a real problem. Thus far, an $18Trillion problem.

    *************************************

  6. Jill:

    I completely agree with you that the government has forgotten that it’s purpose is to serve the people, not rule them.

    I have enjoyed reading the information my ecologist relative has sent me on what he and his colleagues were able to accomplish working WITH private landowners to mutual benefit instead of dictating TO them. Forging stewardship partnerships to conserve our resources. He has complained that this is not always the case. Apparently many of the fights and losses of livelihoods were unnecessary. But when an agency frankly doesn’t care if you lose your home or your livelihood, or if their goals are efficiently met, it creates an adversarial relationship.

    A case in point of mismanagement has been government’s approach to storm runoff. It is literally illegal to have a rain barrel in many states. Up until only a few years ago, you needed a permit to have one in CA. CA is a drought state and we are all supposed to conserve water, but for the love of Pete don’t save the rain that falls on your roof! And then, Eureka! Government officials finally understood what ecologists have known for decades. The overwhelming majority of storm runoff never reached waterways, but rather absorbed into the ground to water native vegetation and recharge underground reservoirs, as well as private wells. So all that engineering of hardscape and grading that drained water rapidly without letting it soak in actually was a colossal mistake that contributes to our drought and failing wells. So they finally came around and stopped penalizing the lowly rain barrel.

    Forbidding rain water collection from your own roof should put to rest any question about government environmental overreach.

    There is an excellent book on rainwater harvesting by Burt Lancaster on how to design or change your existing property, from a residence in the suburbs to a sprawling ranch, to harvest rainwater, recharge wells, and recharge groundwater resources. Excellent read.

  7. If the price of a babysitter doubled, how often would struggling families be able to afford one?

    Apparently, Liberals and some in academia think the answer to this questions is “just as much as before. Cost of labor has no effect on job growth.”

  8. Squeaky:

    What do Liberals do when faced with a recession, and a 26% unemployment level among young African Americans, last time I checked?

    #1 They cause an immigration surge through the Dream Act, enable illegal immigration by giving them drivers licenses and preventing law enforcement from communicating or complying with ICE, refuse to deport illegal aliens convicted of crimes, and fight voter ID laws or purging roles of illegal aliens. This produces millions of illegal aliens, who refuse to follow our immigration laws like millions of poor people from other countries manage to follow every day. Most of those compete for entry level jobs desperately needed, especially in high unemployment areas.
    #2 Then they double the minimum wage. Los Angeles is in talks to do so, and WA has already done. Small business owners in WA, such as restaurants, are now closing in droves because, amazingly, no magic money tree sprang up to cover a 50% increase in labor costs, and restaurant patrons don’t care to frequent an establishment that increases their menu prices accordingly. They were talking about this on the radio, and a lot of business owners called in. One restaurant owner said her profit margin is around 4%, so increasing labor costs by 50% in a competitive market where customers just won’t absorb a commensurate price increase will only have one outcome for her. Net result = less jobs. Who is this going to hit the hardest? The communities that already had high unemployment, such as African Americans.

    Politicians court the vote and claimed to be “for the people”, but it’s the poor and struggling who they keep knocking down.

    I support tying minimum wage to the inflation rate, adjusted at predictable intervals. Otherwise we’d still have $2/hour minimum wage.

    There is another school of thought that minimum wage is what drives prices up, and if wages were lower, prices would be lower, as well as cost of living. Perhaps, but I’m not brave enough to try that experiment. Tying it to inflation makes the increases small, reasonable, and predictable. But suddenly doubling minimum wage will have a cascading effect that Liberals refuse to address. Namely, it’s not just minimum wage that has to double, but ALL wages have to increase by the same amount. Or the skilled/educated worker previously earning $15/hour finds himself earning minimum wage, the same as someone sweeping floors or raking leaves. They will not tolerate suddenly being paid the same as unskilled, and so it will go up all the way to the CEO.

    Who’s going to pay for this? Customers will absorb as much as they can. For the rest, it’s layoffs or closed businesses.

    Who suffers the most? The poor. As per usual.

    Anytime Liberals arrive and declare “Better life through government!”, you should run screaming the other way as if it’s the Zombie Apocalypse.

  9. Jill,

    You are absolutely correct. Barry Soetoro is not deceitful, does not function surreptitiously and has the most transparent administration in history. He immediately revealed the whole truth on Benghazi, the IRS, Bergdahl prisoner release, etc., and his father was pro-European. Certainly, Obama did not follow in his father’s footsteps.

    Or not. To wit:

    “The Times of London reports that in 1949, after becoming more politically active, Onyango was jailed by the British for six months due to his working for the Kenyan independence movement. According to Sarah Onyango Obama, her husband Hussein Onyango was subjected to beatings and abuse; it resulted in permanent physical disabilities and his loathing of the British.”

    “Among a cadre of young Kenyan men educated in the West in a program supported by Tom Mboya, Obama had conflicts with Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, which adversely affected his career. He was fired and blacklisted in Kenya, finding it nearly impossible to get a job. Obama experienced three serious car accidents during his final years, the last of which claimed his life in 1982.”

    Three car “accidents” start to appear slightly suspicious, wouldn’t you agree? Looks like Daddy-O (bama) had some fairly radical beliefs and was at odds with those pesky Europeans.

    Barack Obama loves Americans and their European ancestors so much that he wants to dilute them out of their own countries through Mexican and Muslim immigration.

    Barry Soetoro loves America so much he wants to “fundamentally transform” the very thing he loves (even after $22Trillion in reparations/welfare). I’ll bet he didn’t tell Moochele that he loves her and wants to “fundamentally transform” her.

    Jill you are right. Obama doesn’t hate Europeans, just like Colonialists didn’t hate indigenous people, and Obama doesn’t hate Americans, just like the plantation owners didn’t hate their slaves. It’s easy to love someone whose financial worth you’ve just completely confiscated.

    Thanks, Jill. I stand corrected.

  10. Isaac,
    You are living in la-la land buddy. You are the typical straight liner whose drugged out on Democrat Syndrome–that is, you only vote the democratic ticket and make excuses for all their mistakes.

    Right now, YOUR president is dragging his feet and stalling, trying to ride the coaster until the 2016 election, because he doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing and doesn’t want to send troops into the Middle-East as people lose their lives left and right and the threat of attacks on our country hang in the balance.

    He’s dug this country into a hole and it’s going to take the next pres. at least eight years to fill in the crater–maybe.

  11. Often the public office goes to the best liar who has the most big money backers. Obama pulled the wool over the American public’s eyes and so was elected. He continues to lie and side-step and it’s working. Consequently, the opponents of Obama are branded racists.

    Hiliary Clinton is doing the same thing. She and her husband are proficient at the lying game.

    Another is Harry Reid who was asked why he said that Mitt Romney didn’t pay his taxes, and he responded, “He didn’t get elected did he.” His puppy dog, Nancy Pelosi backed Harry and agreed with everything he said.

    American’s watch so much television that they like living in a fantasyland. They wanted a black president and got half and half. Now they want a women president and will vote another deceiving Clinton, who has wanted to be president since her school days–it doesn’t matter that she’s politically inept.

  12. Nick, I never understand why you criticize Clinton as being fat and a lesbian. These are qualities which have nothing to do with her qualification for office. It’s like saying Obama is black so he isn’t fit to be president.

    I really wish that you would stick with things that matter. A person’s size, gender orientation or color do not matter. The fact that they are liars does matter. It truly undermines any credible statements you make when you attack people for qualities that have no bearing on being president.

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