President Obama held a news conference to share his thoughts on the budget deal. In the midst of his dramatic rhetoric about “manufactured crises”, “folks who pushed for the shutdown”, and “the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks”, he slipped in this little gem:
“Now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do.”
Here’s a clip:
We already knew that Obama isn’t a fan of the First Amendment or the free press. In fact, American constitutional experts say that Obama is worse than Nixon when it comes to press freedom.
According to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists called The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America:
“I think we have a real problem,” said New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane. “Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. They’re scared to death. There’s a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It’s having a deterrent effect. If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of the government.”
At the same time, the journalists told me, designated administration spokesmen are often unresponsive or hostile to press inquiries, even when reporters have been sent to them by officials who won’t talk on their own. Despite President Barack Obama’s repeated promise that his administration would be the most open and transparent in American history, reporters and government transparency advocates said they are disappointed by its performance in improving access to the information they need.
“This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” said David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.
What happened to the transparency Obama pledged to offer?
Of course, the White House has its own websites and social media accounts, which are used to distribute information that is created by and favorable to the administration:
Veteran political journalists Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen described the administration’s message machine this way on the news website Politico: “One authentically new technique pioneered by the Obama White House is government creation of content—photos of the president, videos of White House officials, blog posts written by Obama aides—which can then be instantly released to the masses through social media. And they are obsessed with taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and every other social media forum, not just for campaigning, but governing. They are more disciplined about cracking down on staff that leak, or reporters who write things they don’t like.”
Earlier this year, Obama gave the commencement address at Ohio State University. He used that opportunity to try to convey a similar message to the graduates:
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”― George Washington
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”