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My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington
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- Contains 10 key ideas
In Stonewalled, author and former journalist Sharyl Attkisson offers a tell-all account of her fight for truth amid what she considered significant obstruction from both government that had promised “unparalleled transparency” and from American media outlets.
Key idea 1 of 10
Under President Obama, political transparency has been in steady decline.
When President Obama took office in 2009, he promised his administration would deliver an “unprecedented level of openness.”
Unfortunately, what we’ve gotten is the opposite: unprecedented obstructionism.
In fact, the Obama administration excludes the press from events of great public interest. In 2010, for example, reporters were denied access to the president’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, as well as to a meeting with Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
In 2013, reporters finally had had enough. Thirty-eight news organizations signed an open letter to the White House to make their frustration with these press restrictions known. Most major news outlets participated, including The Associated Press, ABC News, The New York Times and Fox News.
Since Obama took office, the free press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has even downgraded America’s press freedom ranking, based on criteria such as censorship, pluralism, media independence, press laws and transparency.
Between 2008 and 2014, America’s global ranking has dropped from 41 in 2008 to 46 in 2014, out of 180 ranked nations.
Reporters Without Borders has also criticized the government’s efforts to hunt down confidential sources and whistleblowers, like when the Department of Justice seized phone records from the Associated Press in 2013 without even notifying the news organization.
What’s more, the administration prefers to circumvent tough questions from traditional news media outlets by producing its own content using channels that it can control more easily.
For instance, rather than giving interviews to reporters, administration officials hold online chats with the public, such as a “Google+ Hangout” held in 2012. But rather than representing a critical cross-section of the public, the live video conference instead showcased five pre-selected individuals who were not hostile to the administration.
Social-network savvy White House officials also publish content on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, in the hope that such messaging will be propagated by others online.
Even the Pentagon has its own TV channel, featuring interviews and military news around the clock.