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Invisible transparency

Register • Jul 16, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Last Sunday when Josh Earnest, the new White House Press Secretary, said:

“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history”

It sort of baffled me because I believed that was President Obama’s responsibility.

Why? Because back on Jan. 29, 2009, President Obama, possibly still euphoric from that new car smell while test driving his presidency, wrote the following:

“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration”

So now, five and a half years later, the new car is used and smells so much like broken promises that 38 journalism groups, including the Society for Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association and the American Society of News Editors, last week wrote President Obama an open letter asking him to directly stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public.

Lately, this practice among federal agencies has become the equivalent of the card trick performed by illusionists where all 52 cards are the same.

“Pick an agency, any agency, now put it back in the deck and watch as the agency you picked along with the truth gets shuffled”

According to the “Gang of 38” the journalists pointed out in their letter that recent research has indicated the problem — transparency or rather the lack of transparency — is getting worse, particularly at the federal level, throughout the nation.

Nevertheless, during CNN’s news show last Sunday, “Reliable Sources” White House Press Secretary Earnest said he “absolutely, absolutely” sticks by Obama’s line five and a half years ago about having the most transparent administration even after continued criticism about apparent attempts to not make full disclosures.

Here’s hoping Earnest displays better transparency skills then recently resigned White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had. Carney’s lack of transparency inspired Yahoo News to count, starting from his first press conference on Feb. 16, 2011, to June of last year, 9,486 responses that avoided a direct, complete or, ahem, transparent answer.

For Top Ten “Late Night” legal reasons here are the leading nine dodges Carney gave the White House press corps.

1. “I don’t have the answer” (1,905 times)

2. “I would refer you to someone else”(1,383 times)

3. “You already know the answer” (1,125 times)

4. “I’m not going to tell you” (939 times)

5. “Not that I know of” (927 times)

6. “I don’t want to” (588 times)

7. “I’m not sure” (549 times)

8. “I won’t speculate” (525 times)

9. “No comment” (429 times)

My personal favorite didn’t make the leading nine dodges, but Carney, who the White House press corps nicknamed “The Artful Dodger” did publicly say the following 117 times:

“The president won’t tell me.”

The winner is ... Part I — Now that Cleveland’s royalty is in place, the Cavaliers with King James, the Browns with Prince Johnny Football and the Indians with Court Jester Nick Swisher, the question is this: Who will win the next sports championship for Cleveland?

The Gladiators.

That’s right. Cleveland’s Arena Football team has a 15-1 record with two remaining games. Their lone loss came against, surprise, Pittsburgh. Still they look like a lock to win ArenaBowl XXVI.

Why? Because Denver does not have an indoor football team. Of course, as Seattle proved in the Super Bowl this year, Denver does not have an outdoor football team either.

The winner is ... Part II — The USA soccer team who returned home soccer heroes in the soccer world after winning one game out of four in the recent World Cup.


That sort of reduces the wonder of soccer’s reputation in the USA of “Everybody gets a juice box and a participation medal”

Perhaps the time has come for President Obama to dismantle The Ministry of Truth, which controls news and the Ministry of Truth Records Department, which rectifies historical records to be in agreement with Big Brother’s current decrees.

Oops! Wrong Big Brother.

Oops! Oops! Just like in college I had to use Cliff Notes to reference George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four” Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Hard to believe I’m only a 39th-year red shirt tiddly winks team sophomore.

Youse dont did had two bee a coldage grabdidit to see through President Obama’s transparency to realize that between now and the end there is no hope and change of President Obama or his administration creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.

This is why it should be important for the “Gang of 38” to remember the nitty-gritty of their letter come presidential campaign time and use whatever influence they can to make transparency one of the main issues that will motivate and inspire voters.

Who knows?

With any luck after the next election transparency could be the real recovery program this century for the American public.

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