In a letter Monday to a coalition of 42 journalism groups and media organizations, Earnest said this:
"The president's commitment to transparency and the crucial role of the independent press is unwavering. The president has set an historically high standard of transparency that is part of the legacy to which future presidents will aspire ..."
Least transparency ever
David Cullier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, described the Earnest response as “typical spin and response through non-response ... nowhere does the White House address specific concerns about excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens.”
Cullier's group was among the dozens that signed the July 8, 2014, letter to Obama condemning increasing "politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies."
That suppression is enforced by preventing federal employees from talking to journalists without the presence of public information officers or political appointees.
Public not welcome here
"Contact is often blocked completely. When public affairs officers speak, even about routine public matters, they often do so confidentially in spite of having the title 'spokesperson,'" the letter said.
"Reporters seeking interviews are expected to seek permission, often providing questions in advance. Delays can stretch for days, longer than most deadlines allow."
The letter continued, noting that "in prior years, reporters walked the halls of agencies and called staff people at will." But that access was tightened during the Bush administration and has become even more pronounced under Obama.
Both the journalist coalition letter and the Earnest response are well-worth taking the time required to read and compare, particularly in light of Obama's promised transparency on his first day in office.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
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Columnists/Sean Higgins: Workers get another chance to decertify a union after NLRB said no.
Columnists/Byron York: Libertarians and fringe candidates could tip Senate races.
Beltway Confidential/T. Becket Adams: When the going in Iraq gets tough, Obama calls on Biden.
PennAve/Brian Hughes: Obama says Robin Williams was "one of a kind."
Legal Newsline/David Yates: Opponents of California's Prop 46 launch campaign video.
Video/Morning Examiner: Morning Examiner with Steve Doty for Aug. 12.
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The Federalist: What the Founders tell us about the GOP's ruling class.
Talking Points Memo: Hillary's delicate, dangerous game.
Slate: Christians on a hill in Iowa.
In These Times: Leaving democracy to the experts.
Mother Jones: Confidential memo says Tea Party support is drying up.