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First Obama undermined press freedom. Now he wants Trump curbed!

Hypocrisy on show!   Despite what he said when he came into office about press freedom and openness in government, Obama's action have seen his actions acting quite to the contrary.    But, now that Trump is gaining the sort of traction he has been, the good 'ole Pres., in a great case of hypocrisy, is calling on the press to bring Trump to account.  This piece in The Guardian explains...

"On his first day on the job, way back in January 2009, Obama issued a memorandum declaring that his administration was “committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government … and establish a system of transparency”. This was one of his campaign promises. Seven years later, the president has fallen well short of this vow, and many journalists see his administration as the least transparent of all.

The Freedom of Information Act (Foia), signed into law in 1966, is meant to give citizens access to information about the government agencies their taxes support. Less than two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that the Obama administration set a new record in the percentage of Foia requests answered with either redacted files or nothing at all: 77%. That’s up 12 points from the first year of Obama’s presidency.

This is an administration that prosecutes people for leaking information to the press that would hold it accountable, and which continually obfuscates journalists’ and citizens’ efforts to extract any information from it at all.

This is an administration that claimed, repeatedly, that emails to and from former deputy assistant secretary of state Philippe Reines did not exist – only to finally reveal that thousands of them did, several years and one lawsuit later.

This is an administration that has used the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers at least seven times. By contrast, before Obama’s presidency, the act, in place since the first world war, was used to prosecute government officials who leaked to the media just three times.

This is an administration that has gone after journalists who report on information obtained from leakers by secretly obtaining months’ worth of phone records. That spent seven years trying to compel the New York Times’ James Risen to reveal his sources. That snooped through Fox News’ James Rosen’s private emails and accused the reporter of possibly being a “co-conspirator” in order to get a warrant to do so, and to then keep that warrant secret.

This is an administration that has made it exceedingly difficult for journalists to obtain information from even health and science agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture, denying requests and restricting access that was once granted. That allows the Drug Enforcement Agency to charge $1.4m to search for its records on El Chapo – a sum that must be paid in full before the agency would begin to fill the request.

This is an administration that has been happy to present the press with the story it wants the public to know, but then throws every possible roadblock in front of journalists looking for the story that the public deserves to know.

“It’s the kind of journalism that’s never been more important … A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone,” Obama said on Monday night. “It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper and to demand more.”

He’s right about that. Unfortunately for his constituents, it’s also a job he has refused to let many journalists do."


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