Transparency Not Just About Access To The Press

from the much-more-to-it-than-that dept

There has been a series of complaints from the White House press pool since President Obama was sworn in last week, about the fact that he's apparently not living up to his promises of transparency -- specifically in that he hasn't been giving those mainstream press members access to certain things. However, as Ethan Kaplan notes, transparency and access to the media are not the same thing -- and if the administration is putting up all of the information on the web where anyone can get it, rather than just handing stuff to the media, isn't that a lot more transparent? This is a good point, and it will certainly be worth watching how things change over time. Transparency is important, but transparency can be done in many ways, and routing around the media is certainly one of those ways -- no matter how angry it may make the press.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    bob, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    Cable and the Internet

    Are marginalizing the MSM, and they are crying.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    alex, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    'but if we cant put our spin on it or sensationalize nothing, obviously theres no transparency'

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Blocked access to his birth certificate, blocked access to his college transcripts, blocked access to his medical records, blocked access to his finical records involving kick backs from buddies who were directly responsible for the housing crash, blocked access to tax returns, etc. Sure seems transparent as hell to me.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Rex, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Transparency vs Press Access

    Methinks another way to say this is that the MainStreamMedia does not like transparency. MSM wants EXCULSIVE access to government data and news.

    Can you say: "Managed News"? I knew you could.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    mike, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    you seem to be confusing access to documents about someones personal life, and documents relevant to how this country is run.

    gtfo

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Batguy, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Re:

    I second your opinion!

     

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  7.  
    icon
    AMusingFool (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Showing pointlessness of MSM

    Given that the MSM just regurgitates government talking points (generally without attribution, just 'cause... well, who really cares who spouts off, anyway?), it shows how useless they are.

    Win-win.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:09pm

    Anyway...

    The guy is just a little bit busy right now. Somehow I doubt he has a lot of time to hold media's hand.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Help!?

    How do I know what to believe if the MSM is not feeding me their spin on our political process?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    jonnyq, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: mike

    Yet if it were anyone else, there would be an outrage for not being allowed access to those "personal" documents.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    LDøBë, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Why is it necessary?

    You sure as shit can't have access to my college transcripts, birth certificate, medical/dental, and tax returns... I understand that Obama's in a public office. But seriously... How necessary is it to know the time of birth of the potus, or exactly what grade he got in freshman level algebra? He's done a good enough job to get himself elected, we don't need to see his most intimate personally identifiable records until/unless he screws the pooch in a horrible way.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Given press bias.......

    I like what Obama is doing so don't take this wrong but:

    4 years ago mainstream headlines were:
    "Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
    "Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, ordinary Americans get the shaft"

    Recently though:
    "Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million"
    "Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"

    If the differences in mainstream headlines is any indication, I'd much rather have Obama's idea of public access than the presses idea of "we'll make you a bastard or a star based on our owners whims".

    I'm not trying to side with either, just pointing out how biased our news can be. If you do a google on some of those headlines there are a lot of well documented differences in treatment between these numbers.

    120m compared to 700b, pocket change. I still don't like paying for it for ANY reason. As long as it is reported accurately and without bias I'll form my own opinions, but with headlines like that, I really hope Obama keeps posting public information and not letting the media choose what they want to focus on.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Mike, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Given press bias.......

    4 years ago mainstream headlines were:
    "Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
    "Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, ordinary Americans get the shaft"

    Recently though:
    "Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million"
    "Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"


    Out of curiosity, can you point to links with those headlines? Almost all the headlines I saw about the $120 million were about how inappropriate it was to spend that much during these times...

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Inauguration/story?id=6665946&page=1
    http://www.kans ascity.com/273/story/1000756.html
    http://i3.democracynow.org/2009/1/20/public_citizen_obamas_inaugu ration_sponsored_by
    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2009/01/at-what-price-glory.html
    http://media.www.dailycampus.com/media/storage/paper340/news/2009/01/22/Commentary/Inauguration.Co sts.Too.High.For.Tough.Economic.Times-3593447.shtml
    http://www.tampabays10.com/news/columnist/story .aspx?storyid=98442&catid=79
    http://www.thedailysound.com/012209gina
    http://thebulletin.us/art icles/2009/01/19/top_stories/doc497425bfcc7aa250391205.txt
    http://www.jacksonville.com/interact/blo g/david_hunt/2009-01-21/taking_issue_with_inaugural_costs
    http://www.fox5vegas.com/news/18523550/de tail.html
    http://media.www.utcecho.com/media/storage/paper483/news/2009/01/22/Editorial/Inauguratio n.Confuses.Priorities-3592128.shtml
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1115942/Bush- declares-state-emergency-Washington-cost-Obamas-swearing-ceremony-soars-110m.html

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 7:15pm

    Bypassed middle-persons have always gotten upset.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    I dont get it, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 7:20pm

    Re:

    #3 -> "Blocked access to his; birth certificate, college transcripts, medical records, finical records tax returns."

    Please explain why you find this so distressing ?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Space Pirate, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:18pm

    WTF

    This President of ours has little to no bearing on the outcome of your individual life. The economy is not within his control. The actions of other countries are not within his control. Gas prices (sheesh!) are NOT within his control. There is no apocolpyse forthcoming, the only notable change will be in how the taxes leeched of your paycheck on behalf of well funded, smartly lobbied industries, are spent.

    AND just a reminder...

    Legislative Branch: Create Law
    Judicial Branch: Interpret Law
    Executive Branch: Enforce laws

    Seems to me if you remove the abilty to create law, or at very least slow it down, the average American might have a chance to read some of what they'd paid for and would in all liklihood be pretty ticked off by the truth.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Matthew Krum (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:44pm

    @ #3

    Actually, www.Snopes.com posted a link to Obama's website where you can download a PDF copy of his Tax Returns.... HERE at answercenter.barackobama.com

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:09pm

    Mr. Masnick,

    Unsurprisingly, I am in total agreement. For far too long the public has been spoonfed information through the filter of the mainstream media (to borrow a term from Rush Limbaugh). The focus should be on access to all members of society, and the internet provides an opportunity to bring this to fruition. Open government depends upon an informed electorate receiving accurate ane timely information from which the electorate can form its own opinion on the effectivness, or lask thereof, on whether or not government truly is acting in the interests of the people, and not just special interst groups.

    Sadly, my greatest fear is that the mere suggestion concerning openness will be fought tooth and nail by those who are quite satisfied with the status quo. I hope they loose and that for once I will actually be alble to ascertain what is happening behind closed doors in Washington and other seats of government, and particularly states and their political subdivisions. Some measure of secrecy is needed, of course, in matters involving serious issues of national security. Experience teaches me, however, that such situations are clearly in the minority.

     

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  19.  
    icon
    kirillian (profile), Jan 27th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    As much as I agree...

    I definitely agree that the media has spoonfed information to the American public for a great many years. However, the media are also our balance against government propaganda. Whether or not any of us believe that Obama will abuse the system, we ALL have to realize that someone who WILL abuse the system inevitably finds a way to do so. While we can't protect against every loophole, I do think it important that we be careful of setting dangerous precedents.

    I definitely have been impressed so far with Obama's attitude and attempts to be transparent. However, I am a little concerned that the press is being removed too far from the picture. While placing information up on the internet where the public can find it will, I think, help the transparency issue AND help to curb the media's own propaganda, I think it becomes extremely dangerous if the media is prevented from having any sort of access as it creates a new media in essence - a government controlled media. Surely each of you can see the slippery slope this is headed down - government control over the media is a dangerous thing.

    No matter that I support Obama's actions. This scares the living daylights out of me! Even if Obama doesn't abuse it, what's to say that the next guy doesn't?

    This is a problem. A grave one. I agree that Obama's attempts to make change are great, but I can't help but worry that the precedents that may be set in the coming years may be worse than we can imagine.

    I suggest that the administration continue to provide public access to information through the internet, but I also suggest that the administration allow the media access to a good bit more in government for the purpose of balance of power.

    It is dangerous when the government which is elected by the choices and opinions of its people has the ability to greatly influence the choices and opinions of its people...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jan 27th, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Why is it necessary?

    Umm...requirement to be President of the United States of America - born a US citizen. Can't prove it without a birth certificate. The timeline is fuzzy and he may have been born in Kenya or something instead of Hawaii which would disqualify him for office. But nobody is making a stink about it because he's a black man full of hope.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 27th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Why is it necessary?

    Umm...requirement to be President of the United States of America - born a US citizen. Can't prove it without a birth certificate. The timeline is fuzzy and he may have been born in Kenya or something instead of Hawaii which would disqualify him for office. But nobody is making a stink about it because he's a black man full of hope.

    Ok, please, give this up. This was debunked ages ago. His birth certificate was, in fact, revealed, as was a copy of the newspaper with the birth announcement in Hawaii.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/jun/27/obamas-birth-certificate-part -ii/
    http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Obama_1961_birth_announcement_from_Honolulu_Advertiser

    Claiming otherwise is simply propaganda. I have no problem opposing the administration on policies they have that I think are bad, but this is conspiracy theory nonsense.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    SuperSparky, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 3:53pm

    ...like a duck...

    It's not as if people didn't warn you. He associated with scum. He was sought his education among the fringes of societal scum. He lied on regular basis during his campaign, like most political scum. Why is anyone surprised when he treats them like scum?

    He followed the "How to get into power" playbook that previous socialists and fascists used, such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin etc. He was praised as an articulate and charismatic orator, as Adolf Hitler was frequently praised for. He's been thought of as a savior, almost messianic, much like Hitler and Stalin in their times. He used class envy and promises to "spread the wealth" just as Hitler and Stalin did. He used buzzwords like "change" and "hope" just like Hitler and Stalin did.

    Now that he's beginning to behave like a power hungry jerk, you wonder why?

    He associated with radicals and Marxists, and still does. He allows criminals to be part of his cabinet under the guise of financial rescue, and takes away the freedom of property ownership under the guise of "bailout" and you only now just consider the question why he doesn't keep his promises?

    You reap what you sew. You voted for this idiot, now you get the consequences for this. Just because a guy is young and can speak well, and even make you feel all tingly inside by saying essentially nothing but feel good buzz words, doesn't mean he's qualified to be president. Unfortunately, people never learn, it's always envy and a power hungry smooth talker that brings down nations.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Jesse Anderson, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    The Media

    Cry babys! Will someone please give them a bottle!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jan 29th, 2009 @ 8:14am

    Re: Showing pointlessness of MSM

    Given that the MSM just regurgitates government talking points (generally without attribution, just 'cause... well, who really cares who spouts off, anyway?), it shows how useless they are.

    it's worse than that.

    it's a feedback loop:
    the government gives the press an "exclusive" on something. the papers print it. then the government goes on TV and says, "don't take our word for it, take a look at the papers."

    that's exactly how the run up to the invasion of iraq worked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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