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promises … promises

May 28, 2016

Obama Promised Us Transparency but Has Delivered Opacity OpacityTalks Transparency but Walks OpacityWColumn: Obama Keeps Us in the Dark

Margaret Sullivan
For The Washington Post
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Some things just aren’t cool. One of those, according to our no-drama president, is ignorance.

“It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about,” President Obama said during his recent Rutgers University commencement address. It was a swipe clearly intended for he-who-need-not-be-named: Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for president.

OK, no argument there.

But the Obama administration itself has been part of a different know-nothing problem. It has kept the news media — and therefore the public — in the dark far too much over the past seven and a half years.

After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive. And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It’s also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers who want to bring light to wrongdoing they have observed from inside powerful institutions.

That’s why I’m skeptical about the notion that Americans will soon know what they need to know about drone strikes — the targeted killings that have become a major part of the administration’s antiterrorism effort in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

How many of the dead were terrorists or militants? How many were civilians, killed as collateral damage? The administration’s accounting — promised three years ago — will arrive when it hardly matters anymore for holding this administration accountable. But, it’s also going to be incomplete, omitting what’s happened in Pakistan, where hundreds of strikes have taken place.

Jennifer Gibson, an attorney for the international human rights organization known as Reprieve, made this pointed statement: “Excluding the vast majority of drone strikes from this assessment means that it will hardly be worth the paper it is printed on.” Reprieve and another British organization, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, have long challenged the administration’s accounting of drone deaths, using their own research to insist that there are far more fatalities, and a higher percentage of civilian deaths, than the government admits.

Meanwhile, the most transparent administration in history continues doing transparency its own way.

Call it Transparency Lite. On Monday, during a visit to Vietnam, the president spent some quality time with the media — in the form of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef. A couple of years ago, he did a heavily publicized interview with the comedian Zach Galifianakis on the faux-talk show, Between Two Ferns, and last year he made a visit to podcaster Marc Maron’s garage for a chat about fatherhood and overcoming fear.

But his on-the-record interviews with hard-news, government reporters have been relatively rare — and, rather than being wide-ranging, often limited to a single subject, such as the economy.

Remarkably, Washington Post news reporters haven’t been able to interview the president since late 2009 — about six and a half years. Think about that. The Post is, after all, perhaps the leading news outlet on national government and politics, with no in-depth, on-the-record access to the president of the United States for almost all of his two terms.

I couldn’t get anyone in the White House press office to address this, despite repeated attempts by phone and email — which possibly proves my point.

But a thorough study from Martha Joynt Kumar, a retired Towson University professor, describes the administration’s press strategy. The president does plenty of interviews, she writes — far more than any other president in recent history. But these interviews are tightly controlled and targeted toward specific topics, and, it seems to me, often granted to soft questioners. (All of this is a major shift from a time when press conferences and short question-and-answer sessions allowed reporters to pursue news topics aggressively and in real time.)

More interviews; less accountability. Feet kept safe from the fire.

Meanwhile, on press rights generally, the Obama administration hasn’t walked its talk. It has set new records for stonewalling or rejecting Freedom of Information requests. And it has used an obscure federal act to prosecute leakers. It continued the punishing treatment of a National Security Agency whistleblower, Thomas Drake (dismaying new details have emerged recently in book excerpts by John Crane, a former Pentagon investigator), and threatened to send New York Times investigative reporter James Risen to jail for his good-faith insistence on protecting his confidential source.

Promising transparency and criticizing ignorance, but delivering secrecy and opacity? That doesn’t serve the public or the democracy. And that’s deeply uncool.

Margaret Sullivan is The Washington Post media columnist.


*thank you for this margaret



what’s to say? has obamaland built itself a wall?

that the following statement will be inducted into america’s halls of fame …


“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”


but a question demands truth:

how can those not of the prophet of islam respect what does not respect them? how can our future (the youth) receive truth from a malady?




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  1. opheliart permalink

    sometimes it is not so much the article we are seeing but the comments … because these are often afraid to speak without some preface that allows them this FREEDOM

    Christian Koncz • a year ago
    This is what the majority of us here in the West are already thinking, but we’re not allowed to express our opinions. The fact is, we should not tolerate the political ideology of Islam any more than we tolerate Fascism, Communism or Aum Shrinikyo. Scientology is illegal in Germany, Islam isn’t, which is only a function of the number of their respective adherents. As a “religion” (neither deserve the label, truth be told) Islam is far more dangerous and evil than scientology, yet we are supposed to bow down to Islamists and accept their edicts, such as the commandment that no Muslim Prophet is to be depicted in any form. If we were to take the commandments of Islam seriously, we would have to destroy every painting, statue and drawing of Jesus Christ, Moses and Abraham as these are also prophets of Islam. It is very important not to give an inch to Islamists and to point out at every opportunity that Islam is the greatest evil of our time.

    • opheliart permalink

      from the article

      “Muhammad regularly killed and beheaded unbelievers (e.g., the massacre of Banu Qurayza), made slaves of those he conquered but didn’t kill (he had many slaves), “married” (i.e., repeatedly raped) slave girls (e.g., Safiyah and Rayhana), raped children as young as nine years old (e.g., Aisha), and founded a religion in which all such behavior is regarded as morally great because the “Prophet” did it. You know this. I know this. Everyone paying attention knows this.”

      how is it that muhammad did not understand JESUS? Jesus never built himself a military, or murdered. how is it that muhammad did not understand the TEACHINGS of Jesus? Jesus NEVER advocated violence … and never called for abuse, misuse and partiality. THE PROPHET Jesus, if one of the prophets of islam … if UNDERSTOOD IN THE GOD OF THE LIVING … would have known that FORCE is not of the Realm of the Spirit on Truth. excess is indecent … excess of … wives, military, houses, food … property …

      if comparing the prophet of islam and Jesus, we are looking at one living for the kingdom of the flesh through excess, abuse and misuse … and one living for the Reality of the Spirit of the Living God. one is a religious entity, born from manmade greed and destruction and one made in the IMAGE of God that man might see …

      and hear … that call to revelation. a GIFT for … the movement toward HUMAN … in Becoming of something more than himself.

      • opheliart permalink

        so … I say to you, kings of men, no I will not bow to your prophets. I will not pay into and support your greed and your creed. the prophet muhammad is not me and I will not allow myself to be degraded and demeaned by the glaze of indecency that surrounds this agenda of the liberal left or … the religious in their throes of desperation. like the RCC, their pope magnate … dealing in his religious politicism with statements such as: christians and muslims worship the same god.

        NO, no … no … no … no, roman pontiff, not if OF THE CHRIST … WE do not worship the god of islam. that is your fortune, not ours!

  2. opheliart permalink

    who in their right minds honors a murdering war lord? an abuser of children?

    who in their right mind pays into and supports an institution hiding sexual abuse of children, allowing it to continue … even in this day?

    you will indeed know them by their fruits.

    • opheliart permalink

      the day is coming where the rcc and islam and all institutions of this hierarchy of abuse and misuse of many will be seen for what it is————————false doctrine.

      now, would you call it evil?

      • opheliart permalink

        you are being called to UNDERSTANDING … not whitewashing, not manipulation, not business deals and political partnering … you are being called to truthfulness (a form of FRUIT-FILLED-ness). what exactly are you supporting? remember, what you sell yourself to will come back to you. if of goodness, goodness you will receive …

        does good have an opposite? is their something that opposes goodness? does it exist in the world of men? does it rule in the kingdoms of mankind? what does it call itself? how does it dress itself? how does it parade itself—-ENDORSE ITSELF?

        do you smell the fruit or is thisSense lacking its Reason 😉

  3. opheliart permalink

    you see, folks … where man misunderstood the LANGUAGE of the Writings, he erred, and significantly (the Inquisitions, Crusades … hierarchy … ) … the Word is a RENDERING of one in self. those with ears to HEAR understand what this is—what it means …

    the process is not to “execute” the flesh of others through murderous endeavor, like the adjuncts of roman churchism or islamic mission or any other derelict edict … the Language is not understood by Man and should never have been misinterpreted by it: the institutions of politics

    for they got it wrong through THEIR personal preferences. the Word is a manifesto for Truth of One in the Spirit and only One in the Spirit understands its call and {this} is not doctrine for hierarchal deliverance … with slaves bound and gagged by these.

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