The Committee to Protect Journalists released a study on Obama’s refusal to give journalists access to White House information.
When Barrack Obama first ran for office, one of his several campaign promises was, “no more secrecy”. He made a promise to the American people to make government occasions, such as law writings, more public. This pledge was believable because the people did not think it could get much worse than George Bush, who was certainly not a fan of the media. But, according to a report released on Thursday, October 11th by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Obama administration has itself been historically and dangerously hawkish about protecting government secrets.
With the available technology in today’s new digital age, political administrations are able to bar the media from reports, events, or anything that they may attempt to get their hands on. And if the media and press are barred from getting information from the White House, the information being provided to the public is created, molded, and filtered by the White House administration. The West Wing report is an example of this. This report is published in the West Wing and goes directly to the public. There is no press involved, no middle-men, and no questions asked. The problem with this report is that it can be biased; it tends to be self-serving to the White House administration and useful to its consumers. Since the size of the walls around the White House are getting bigger and bigger, figuratively speaking of course, it is impossible to say whether the information is accurate or not.
The most chilling aspect of keeping Americans in the dark is the fact that when the White House doesn’t like the idea of a reporter’s story, they can refuse to release any information. This means that newsworthy, maybe even pivotal information is being denied to the citizens of the United States because Obama wants to protect his public image.
The author of the study, Len Downie, recalls when the congress was less limited and “you know… actually passed laws.” He is associating the government’s deadlock with the increase in media technology outlets. It makes sense. Look at facebook for example: A kid that gets a facebook account becomes friends with his parents, his coworkers, his guy friends, and the girls he is trying to impress. How can he possibly make posts that can impress all of those people at the same time? Because his information will always be available for any of these people to investigate. The guys will think he’s cool if he posts a drinking picture, but his parents might punish him for it. This kid will eventually use his privacy settings to block certain people from certain things. This is something technology has taught us to do, cater certain personalities to specific people. And the White House is no different; when there is important information that will give a significant amount of people a bad impression of Obama’s administration, it is much easier to block the information than to deal with the repercussions.
Is Obama to blame, or society in general?
Is it possible to stop the secrecy problem from getting worse? How?