Despite grand promises of transparency before he took office, Obama has proven to be the most secretive president in modern history. His Administration has classified vastly more documents than any of its predecessors. And let us put none too fine a point on it: classification of information is how we do censorship in America.
In keeping, the Obama Administration has been far more aggressive than any modern president, including Richard Nixon, in his efforts to muzzle the press. One of its new measures to cow the media has been to target leakers, and the journalists to whom they speak, with the Espionage Act.
This Real News Network report describes other strategies the Administration uses to turn news into propaganda. For instance:
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, D.C. CORRESPONDENT, TRNN: In the D.C. newsroom of McClatchy newspapers, White House correspondent Anita Kumar says covering the White House is becoming more and more challenging. Kumar, like all journalists in the White House press corps, has to file pool reports, which are reports of the president’s daily activities that go out to members of the White House press corps and thousands of others. But to get those reports out, the White House must distribute them.
ANITA KUMAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: –the White House, who actually distributes the pool reports, though they aren’t supposed to have any control over it, have actually asked people to change something in the reports. Now, that has happened to me one time that I can think of.
DESVARIEUX: That one time is related to President Obama taping an interview on The Jay Leno Show. Kumar said that she wrote about comments that the president made related to President Putin’s stance on gay rights. She was surprised to find that the White House told her to edit her work.
KUMAR: It was his first remarks about a situation with President Putin of Russia–not Ukraine; it was before that; but they have had some issues for a while now. And it was a pretty newsy interview with Jay Leno. And so I wrote up quite a lot, and I tried to be very fast, and I sent it out in a pool report, maybe more than one pool report. And I was actually told by someone at the White House that–it was sort of sent back to me, and said, you’ve written too much, and we need to cut back on that, or you need to cut back on that. And it made me very uncomfortable. And that’s just not the way to me it’s supposed to work, where they’re supposed to be telling me what I can put out and what I couldn’t put out.
Please watch this segment in full, and circulate it to friends and colleagues who may not appreciate the degree to which the press is controlled in the US. You can read the transcript here.