Tags: Barack Obama | john earnest | obama administration | transparency | new york times

Earnest Scolds NYT For Not Giving Obama Credit For Transparency

Image: Earnest Scolds NYT For Not Giving Obama Credit For Transparency

White House press secretary Josh Earnest (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 03:55 PM

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wrote a letter to The New York Times criticizing it for failing to acknowledge what he called "the important and unprecedented steps that the Obama administration has taken to fulfill the president's promise to lead the most transparent White House in history."

Earnest was responding to a column by Jim Rutenberg published on Monday that took to task the leading presidential candidates for their lack of transparency and also scolded the Obama administration by saying:

"Right now, every signal from [Hillary] Clinton is that should she win, her administration would continue the tradition of being still more secretive than the one before it; the Obama White House has achieved just that with its abysmal record on fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests and its record of prosecuting whistle-blowers who have shared national security information with the press."

Earnest sidestepped those direct complaints, instead listing a series of steps he says the Obama White House has taken that previous administration did not. This included the president inviting White House journalists to cover his formal remarks at fundraisers, even when they are held in a private home and "proactively releasing more than 180,000 data sets on a federal government website… [so] that reporters and citizens have access to mind-boggling amounts of data — that they may not even have known existed — without having to formally request it."

Earnest emphasized that credit should be given when it is due and noted that if "Obama's government transparency effort is not even noted by The Times's media columnist, then why would future presidential candidates make it a priority?"

In The New York Times column, Rutenberg's main point was that transparency and accessibility is vital for democracy, and Clinton's policy, for example, of not allowing the press covering her campaign to fly on the same plane as her is a departure from a five-decades long tradition of presidential candidates.

Although he acknowledged that, unfortunately, Trump has also not allowed the press to fly on the same plane with him, he has made himself much more accessible than she has in other ways.

Rutenberg mentioned the fact that Clinton has not held a traditional news conference in about nine months and even the interviews she has granted with reporters that cover her day to day have been rare, concluding that "a candidate who doesn't want journalists around is a would-be president who presumably doesn't want to be transparent" with the public.

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wrote a letter to The New York Times criticizing it for failing to acknowledge what he called "the important and unprecedented steps that the Obama administration has taken to fulfill the president's promise to lead the most...
john earnest, obama administration, transparency, new york times
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2016-55-31
Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 03:55 PM
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