Journalism groups accuse Obama of news censorship

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In unprecedented criticism of the White House, 38 journalism groups have assailed the president's team for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials and “politically-driven suppression of the news.”

In a letter to President Obama, the groups, led by the Society of Professional Journalists, said efforts by government officials to stifle or block coverage has reached a high-point under his administration despite a 2008 campaign promise of transparency.

Worse, they said, as access for reporters has been cut off, the administration has opened the door to lobbyists, special interests and “people with money.”

As a result, they wrote, Obama only has himself to blame for the current cynicism in Washington. “You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in,” wrote David Cuillier, president of SPJ.

The administration has dismissed similar charges from other journalism groups, notably the White House Correspondents’ Association, but the new letter sent Tuesday provided several examples of censorship and efforts to block reporter access.

SPJ's Cuillier, director of the University of Arizona’s journalism school, told Secrets, "It is up to journalists — and citizens — to push back against this force. Hard!"

 

RAND PAUL PULLS AWAY, REACHES 20 PERCENT IN POLL

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the most active candidate on the 2016 Republican presidential trail, is starting to pull away from the field of competitors, reaching 20 percent support for the first time this year, according to a new Zogby Analytics poll.

The June 27-29 poll found Paul building a big lead over establishment candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, both at 13 percent, and three other key potential challengers: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, at 8 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, at 7 percent; and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, at 4 percent.

 

OOPS: INTEL BOSS MUFFS 'REIN' VS. 'REIGN'

Snickers are raining down on the director of national intelligence for his confusion over the apparently devilish spellings of “rein” and “reign.”

In a release announcing the departure of Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, DNI James R. Clapper started a sentence, “Since assuming the reigns in 2011…”

His team should have asked the CIA for spelling tips. That intelligence agency prides itself on details and even has a little-known style book that, on page 119, provides definitions:

Reign: To exercise sovereign power. Rein: To guide, to control, to hold back.

 

CLINTON'S BOOK COULD HURT PUBLISHER

The sales drop of Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir has turned into an avalanche and is set to cost publisher Simon & Schuster millions if Hard Choices doesn’t suddenly catch fire and "earn out" the estimated $14 million advance they paid the former first lady.

According to new New York Times numbers, her book will be pushed further down on the July 20 best seller list by the anti-Clinton book Blood Feud, by former Timesman Edward Klein.

Publishing sources said that Clinton has sold 177,236 hardcovers. E-book sales aren’t available, but her numbers are very low, said the sources. Even at 200,000 total sales, each book would have had to sell for about $70 to gross $14 million, and that doesn't include the cost of production, distribution and promotion. Amazon offers it for $20.94, about $14 off the $35 list price. It has dropped to 103rd in Amazon sales, compared to 10th for Blood Feud.

 

LANGUISHING TEA PARTY SETS ELECTION REBOOT

After a disappointing primary season, the Tea Party is getting set for a revival going into the fall general elections with one its leading organizations, the 2.5 million-member TheTeaParty.net, bringing back its top strategist to lead the effort.

TheTeaParty.net, which is based in Washington, announced the appointment of Niger Innis as executive director. The prominent black conservative and civil rights activist ran an insurgent House campaign in Las Vegas, Nev., but came in second.

He said he was returning in hopes of reviving the movement after seeing reports that the Tea Party was ineffective and under assault. "We need to refocus on our foundational vision: to be a vehicle of communication for grassroots Americans who feel disaffected from the political and economic elite in Washington, D.C., and New York,” Innis told Secrets.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

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