President Obama promised a transparent government as part of his second term in office, but there may be no larger issue that he has failed to deliver on. Again and again, citizens are denied the right to public participation in correlation with our government and the media is dismissed whenever possible, according to a slew of recently published articles.
A new report by the Columbia Journalism Review claims that the relationship between the Obama administration and the press is the least open it’s ever been. The report suggests that President Obama is not living up to the promise he made only a few years earlier to be a more transparent government.
When President Obama secured his second term in office, in 2013, he released a memo to federal agencies promising a more open relationship with the government.
“We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” according to a Slate article from 2013. Two years later and government transparency is still one of the largest issues to plague this administration.
The reporter, Paul Thacker, wrote about his experiences working with both the Bush and Obama administration while on assignment and how his job was made increasingly difficult due to “illegally redacted” information from his Freedom of Information Act requests. His hopes that things would get better under the Obama administration did not materialize, and the current administration has been characterized as the least transparent in over half a century.
“Whether it’s responding to Congress, media questions, or FOIA requests, this administration is no better than its predecessor,” Thacker wrote two years ago.
The report’s author, Susan Milligan, has concluded that little to nothing has changed in the past few years and that the relationship between the press and the administration is “more distant than it has been in a half-century and that the White House makes reporters’ job ‘nearly impossible.’”
President Obama continues to suggest that his administration is committed to an open and engaging relationship with both citizens and the press, as referenced on the White House website but his actions speak otherwise.
“An exhaustive study of every official exchange Obama had with the press corps in 2014, supplemented by a review of daily press briefings and interviews with more than a dozen current and former correspondents and White House press secretaries, reveals a White House determined to conceal its workings from the press, and by extension, the public,” the study said
“The media most responsible for covering the president and his inner sanctum are given little insight into how decisions are made or who influences those decisions, whether from inside or outside the White House,” the study continued.