from the most-transparent-administration-in-history dept
At a big journalism confab in Chicago, apparently anger about the administration's unprecedented level of secrecy boiled over as journalists vehemently criticized the lengths to which this administration will go to block journalists and to create significant chilling effects.
"The White House push to limit access and reduce transparency has essentially served as the secrecy road map for all kinds of organizations — from local and state governments to universities and even sporting events," Brian Carovillano, AP managing editor for U.S. news, said during a panel discussion.Reporters noted that sources are now afraid to talk to them, given the crackdown on leaks -- though, again, it only happens on leaks the administration doesn't like. When the leaks make the White House look good, no investigations, hounding or prosecutions happen. However, if you leak something the administration doesn't like -- such as blowing the whistle on corrupt government practices, the administration has an official policy that you are "aiding the enemy."
And while some might claim (incorrectly, usually) that there's a legitimate argument there when it comes to leaks involving national security, the crackdown goes way beyond that:
The AP's Washington chief of bureau, Sally Buzbee, said the Obama administration's efforts to control information extend even to agencies not directly involved in intelligence gathering. Some sources, she said, have reportedly been warned they could be fired for even talking to a reporter.We tend to agree that the following statement is a ridiculous one in most situations, but since government officials seem to use it all the time, it seems worth asking: if they've done nothing wrong, what do they have to hide?
"Day-to-day intimidation of sources is also extremely chilling," she said.
Buzbee said she's frequently asked if the Obama administration, when it comes to transparency, is worse than the administration of President George W. Bush.
"Bush was not fantastic," she said. She added, "The (Obama) administration is significantly worse than previous administrations."