The Obama administration has tooted its own horn loudly for running the most transparent White House in history, citing its dissemination of the president’s public schedule as an example. Not so fast.
That public schedule is about as all-encompassing as a sieve, Politico
reports. Some of the information left out is even in the public domain already, such as a reception for AIDS activists and researchers that already had been revealed on a White House blog.
Some of the omissions appear to be deliberate, such as the failure to include meetings with House Speaker John Boehner during the debt ceiling negotiations. Other omissions appear designed to conceal potentially embarrassing events for Obama, including meetings about the Sudan with actor George Clooney, a big-time donor and fundraiser for the president.
About one-third of the events pictured in 4,000 photos posted to Flickr by official White House photographers since Obama took office in 2009 never appeared on his public schedule.
“Too often President Obama has meetings with foreign officials, members of Congress or representatives of interest groups that never make it to the schedule given to the press the night before,” Mark Knoller, veteran White House correspondent for CBS News, told Politico. “Sometimes we only find out about the events from non-White House sources: embassies, interest groups, and congressional offices.”
Another long-time White House correspondent, Ann Compton of ABC News, says the Obama administration has indeed made a move on openness when it comes to the president’s schedule – a move in the wrong direction. “I would say the daily schedule they hand out is on the shallow side compared to presidents past,” she told Politico.
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