President Obama Secretly Receives Transparency Award
President Obama received an award for transparency in government, but you probably didn’t hear about because the ceremony was held in secret:
President Obama finally and quietly accepted his “transparency” award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday.
The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.
This time, Obama met quietly in the Oval Office with Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org, without disclosing the meeting on his public schedule or letting photographers or print reporters into the room.
“Our understanding going into the meeting was that it would have a pool photographer and a print reporter, and it turned out to be a private meeting,” Bass told POLITICO. “He was so on point, so on target in the conversation with us, it is baffling why he would not want that message to be more broadly heard by reporters and the public interest community and the public generally.”
Just hours before the White House put off the original event, White House press secretary Jay Carney was defiant in his defense of Obama’s transparency record against criticism that it might have been premature.
“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for President and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that,” Carney said in a testy exchange with Fox News reporter Wendell Goler on March
You can forgive Obama for not being transparent about his transparency award, though, because he’s getting this award not for what he’s done, but for what he says he’s going to do:
“I don’t feel moved today to say ‘thank you, Mr. President,'” said Steve Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. But he said he understands the award to be “aspirational,” in recognition of Obama’s potential to do more on the transparency front.
“And in that sense, one could say it resembles the award at the Nobel Peace Prize,” Aftergood said. “It’s not because Obama brought peace to anyone but because people hoped he would be a force for good in the world, and maybe that’s the way to understand this award.”
In other words, it’s totally phony, much like the Administration’s pledge to be transparent.