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February 19, 2013

Unprecedented Transparency

Apparently, ideas of what constitutes transparency differ:

Obama boasted Thursday during a Google+ Hangout from the White House: “This is the most transparent administration in history.” The people who cover him day to day see it very differently.

“The way the president’s availability to the press has shrunk in the last two years is a disgrace,” said ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton, who has covered every president back to Gerald R. Ford. “The president’s day-to-day policy development — on immigration, on guns — is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it. There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren’t even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away.”

This struck us, too:

One authentically new technique pioneered by the Obama White House is extensive government creation of content (photos of the president, videos of White House officials, blog posts written by Obama aides), which can then be instantly released to the masses through social media. They often include footage unavailable to the press.

Brooks Kraft, a contributing photographer to Time, said White House officials “have a willing and able and hungry press that eats this stuff up, partly because the news organizations are cash-strapped.”

“White House handout photos used to be reserved for historically important events — 9/11, or deliberations about war,” Kraft said. “This White House regularly releases [day-in-the-life] images of the president … a nice picture of the president looking pensive … from events that could have been covered by the press pool. But I don’t blame the White House for doing it, because networks and newspapers use them. So the White House has built its own content distribution network.”

So the White House has not only taken over a job formerly performed by the media at their own expense, but has dramatically increased the scope of the job.

Who's paying for all of this?

Oh yeah. We are. Kinda reminds me of something else I read about the President doing everyone else's job but his own ... [rummaging around in the brain housing group]... Ah - here it is!

... the Obama administration continued to back away from an immigration plan that leaked over the weekend. After USA Today reported on a leaked immigration bill that Obama's team was assembling as various factions on Capitol Hill worked on their own legislation, an unnamed administration official told NBC News on Monday that the White House was not "floating anything" and framed the leaked legislation as a backup plan.

So let's get this straight: the President has time to do Congress's job in a kinda-sorta half assed way that he ends up having to back away from, but doesn't have time to stop the sequester he proposed in the first place or meet his annual budget deadline.

Maybe we need a national "backup plan" to protect the country against Obama's inability to follow through?

Posted by Cassandra at February 19, 2013 06:21 AM

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From one of my favorite commenters at Megan McArdle, "Ann-in-Illinois":

"Be reasonable! If Obama can't use a one-size-fits-all approach to business, how is he supposed to find time to micromanage everything at once? He also has to direct our technological future and solve all our social problems.

"What you call 'coercion,' enlightened people think of as 'everyone working together for a better future' (i.e. collectivism). As Obama said in his inaugural speech, one person can't do everything alone, and therefore all decisions need to be made centrally, by one person with the power to direct everyone."

No wonder he doesn't have any free time. The man is busy.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 19, 2013 12:25 PM

"The most transparent administration in history."
Whose history, the USSR's?

Posted by: DaveJ at February 28, 2013 03:18 AM