Transparency inquiry can’t even get asked

By WND Staff

Jay Carney

The “transparency” in the Obama administration means sometimes a question can’t even get asked.

The discovery came today at the daily White House news briefing with press secretary Jay Carney, who responded to a request to be allowed to ask about the president’s positions: “I’m not going to take your questions.”

Ironically, Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House and the No. 2 reporter on the White House beat, had wanted to ask about Obama’s openness.

“In the Washington Post, the president of the Society of Professional Journalists wrote of the Obama administration, ‘Reporters’ questions often go unanswered. When replies are given they frequently are more scripted than meaningful. What is the White House response to this?” was what Kinsolving had wanted to ask.

He hoped to follow up with, “This Washington Post column also quoted AP’s report that ‘the Obama administration even censored 194 pages of internal emails about its open government directive.’ Is the AP wrong in reporting this?”

But Carney, who had gone down the first two rows of the press gallery today allowing questions, skipped over Kinsolving when his turn arrived. And later when Kinsolving interrupted to ask to be allowed some questions, Carney refused.

It was in a commentary in the Post that the issue had been raised.

Written by Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, and Hagit Limor, an investigative reporter at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati and president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the editorial cited Obama’s promise for “openness.’

“We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” he wrote in one of his first memos to federal agencies. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”

But they wrote that they have found “little openness” from Obama.

“If anything, the administration has gone in the opposite direction.”

They cited several examples, including a government ban on reporters seeking outside comment when the Food and Drug Administration announced changes to one of its processes. Also, they noted the Associated Press said in more than one-third of requests for public records, the administration refused to provide any information at all.

“Reporters’ questions often go unanswered. When replies are given, they frequently are more scripted than meaningful. Public employees generally are required to obtain permission to share their expertise, and when interviews are allowed, a media ‘handler’ is listening in to keep control over what is said. And when replies come via e-mail, it’s unclear who has written them,” they wrote.

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