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home : local blogs : off the cuff April 28, 2016


3/28/2014 4:43:00 PM
Blog: Government transparency won't be a part of Obama's legacy
Photo courtesy whitehouse.gov
Photo courtesy whitehouse.gov

Chris A. Porter
WNI Digital Media


Going into his fifth year as President, Barack Obama has come under some attack regarding his administration's inconsistent policies regarding government transparency as well as the release of certain high-level information to the public. We as individuals tend to weigh these kind of decisions when gauging just how transparent our government seems to appear.

What we expected:

From an earlier blog entry (1/10/2008) spotlighting '08 Presidential hopefuls, it was noted that Obama's first campaign consisted of a 10-point platform covering many issues. One of those platform issues was as follows:

"Ethics. Obama favors more accountability and transparency in government by making its regulatory business and communications public information." (emphasis mine)

What we got (5 years later):

A report from the nonprofit Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) by former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and reporter Sara Rafsky paints a rather critical picture regarding the level of government transparency the media has seen from the current administration in this time.

The piece indicts the administration with claims of curbing 'routine disclosure of information', deploying 'its own media to evade scrutiny,' and actively pursuing 'prosecution of leakers of classified information.'

It delves even deeper, alleging that officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press for fear of investigation, further scrutiny and even prosecution. Every government department in the country institutes an "Insider Threat Program" recruiting employees to help prevent 'unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues.'

Edward Snowden, along with 7 other government employees have been subjects to criminal prosecution under the 1917 Espionage Act since 2009 - all accused of leaking classified information.

As a consequence, security has been heightened throughout this administration. Emails and texts of reporters become 'secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department.' Allegations of being "an aider, abettor and/or conspirator" have even been leveled at certain members of the press. This is already in addition to the whistle blowing on NSA programs from ex-employees that have uncovered a batch of previously classified information to the public.

The writer states that journalists even allege spokesmen for the administration to be openly hostile and even unresponsive to press inquiries, rendering Obama's 'transparency' assertions to be seemingly nonexistent.

New York Times veteran chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger seems to sum it up bluntly: "This is the most closed, control freak administration I've ever covered."

Off the Cuff - My Take:

The report is definitely an interesting read. It gives one a lot to consider, especially in these post-Snowden times.

No doubt about it: the secrecy of this administration has been a huge letdown. Some of us had our ideas about the data-mining, but the domestic and even yet-undiscovered worldwide scope of the spying is still a bit hard to contemplate and rather terrifying.

To me, some of these NSA programs border on the nefarious and even the inexcusable. There is monitoring networks to thwart terrorism, and there's something completely different such as the levels of broken privacy seen thus far.

I suppose I'm a bit jaded. It seems everything politics these days comes off as more canned than usual, in my estimation, especially, but not limited to, the Obama administration. They have an uncanny ability to shine on even our most reputable media sources. I can only hope it's just a one-sided arrangement, but it's a rather frustrating trend to witness time and time again.

So, here's to this sort of nonsense coming to an end over the next few years. However, it's difficult to hold my breath just yet.

So, is the Obama administration more or less transparent than predecessors? What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and as always, your candies and flowers (or pitchforks and torches) are very much appreciated.


Related Links:
• Special Reports: The Obama Administration and the Press


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Article comment by: william gauslow

Transparency is probably going to be less well into the future. Besides, the president has 535 representatives watching his every step. Take a day off from hating the president.

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Article comment by: Granville Gran

Watch ALL news. When they both have a completely different spin on something it is your cue to do some research.

Especially if you weren't alive during the incident in question!

Talking heads are quite convincing in their propaganda and seem oh, so honest. College professors and even clergy too have gotten into the mix.

BTW: This has happened before in history. HINT: Research it...
WHY: We are a country that is a mere 237 years old. And, we are able to be manipulated without a non-manipulated populace. You hold the key to freedom or something less palatable.

Buy into propaganda without research and we won't have the ability to do anything but swallow what we are told in the probably near future. Thank you sir, may I have another?



Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: Christopher A. Porter

Thank you for the feedback, Gottah Goah. Just a factoid: the Fox News channel began about 18 years ago. Thus, can hardly be considered new, by any standard.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: William Open your eyes

William, open your eyes and ears to something other than MSN, CNN, and listen to ALL the news networks. They all have their particular spin. Fox just gives you another to analyze from a different perspective and often tells the cold hard facts without sugar coating. We realize your sugar coated glasses limit the input of reality of our world situations but ask you to put your biases aside and see outside of your personal benefits and realize what has and is becoming of the world we once knew and loved. Unfortunately the Liberal Democratic followers are considered useful idiots by the current administration.

Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Article comment by: Fear and Loathing of Blind Faith (not the band)

Its very hard, to be objective, and to understand how, even after the last five years of this clown show, there are still people out there supporting him. I read that at a recent speech to a university audience he was cheered by the students, what are they smoking in college these days? Maybe he told them he was going to legalize pot nationwide.

Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Article comment by: Gottah Goah

Thank God for honest, real, and fact based news reporting..............FOX NEWS! By the way, they are still number one new broadcasting station.

Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014
Article comment by: Tell the Truth

There is a new "father of lies". He is living in the white house!

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: william gauslow

Guys and gals, watch or listen to another channel other than Fox. Please.

Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Article comment by: The Rev

It is unfortunate, there was so much Hope.

Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Article comment by: My Opinion

I think Obama will go down in history as the most personally dishonest person to ever hold the office. The guy is a flat out liar, even by politician standards which are pretty darn low.

Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Article comment by: Gary Dean

Is there even anything to think about? This bunch of liars starts with Obama himself and goes straight to the bottom from there. Obama is not a president, he is just a puppet. He has not the ability to think for himself. And he is damn sure not a leader.



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