Former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie has issued a stunning verdict on President Obama's record in delivering "the most transparent administration in history."
Downie told an audience at the New America Foundation yesterday that "the Obama administration’s aggressive war on leaks, and its determined efforts to control information that the news media needs to hold the government accountable for its actions, are without equal since the Nixon administration."
Most transparent what?
Those efforts, Downie said, are "in direct conflict with President Obama’s often-stated goal of making his administration the most transparent in American history.”
Downie's assessment holds particular significance because he speaks not as a conservative political partisan, but rather as a veteran Washington journalist who was one of the Washington Post desk editors on the Watergate stories that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.
Downie recently authored a devastating report on Obama and the news media that was published by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
It's the big freeze
But it's not just the Obama White House's efforts to track down leakers providing documents to national security reporters, according to Downie.
"At the same time, 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."
In other words, Obama and his appointees in the federal government are systematically trying to minimize the ability of the independent news media to hold government accountable.
Time to wake up
As New York Times correspondent David Sanger told Downie, "This is the most closed, control freak administration I've ever covered." The CPJ report is a must-read for anybody who cares about freedom of the press and speech.
Ensuring transparency and accountability in government is among the few issues left on the national political agenda that generally unites liberals and conservatives.
And yet, the traditional media outlets covering Obama continue to treat him with kid gloves. When will they realize they are being had?
In today's Washington Examiner
Examiner Watchdog: Troubled Obamacare website wasn't tested until a week before launch.
Tim Carney: Scorched-earth populism and banana stands.
Philip Blumel: Three words you would love to say: 'Congress, you're fired!'
In other news
The New York Times: Two parties start new budget talks.
The New York Times: Despair, anger and disillusion on the Right.
The Washington Post: More soul-searching ahead for the Republican establishment.
The Telegraph: Don't write America off after the debt crisis.
Talking Points Memo: Harry Reid says Ted Cruz can't talk down to anyone.
New Republic: The media myths about Mitch McConnell.
Mother Jones: The post-shutdown GOP civil war in 23 quotes.
The Weekly Standard: Nancy Pelosi says don't delay Obamacare even if website isn't working.
The American Conservative: Pure liberty and absolute traditionalism alike fail the Constitution.
Washington Free Beacon: China's nuke sales a go.