NOXIOUS RANT : YOU Asked For It.

While stumbling through the snooze, I came across this Washington Post article. At first, I didn’t know whether to laugh out loud, or unleash the I T D.

So, after careful consideration, and NOT wanting to incur the wrath of the H&F “censors”, I decided on this route. Leftist media, YOU wanted it, YOU got it. Enjoy, assholes. From Paul Farhi, one of the MANY morons at The Washington Post.

 

Access denied: Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limits

Not much more needs to be said, eh ?

NO COMPLAINTS from ANY of you assholes. YOU wanted him, YOU got him. And SCREWED the REST of us in the meantime. Enjoy it, assholes.

 

 

Stacey Singer, a health reporter for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, was perusing a medical journal in 2012 when she came across something startling: a federal epidemiologist’s report about a tuberculosis outbreak in the Jacksonville area. Singer promptly began pursuing the story.

But when she started seeking official comment about the little-reported outbreak, the doors began closing. County health officials referred her to the state health department. State officials referred her to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though the CDC’s own expert had written the investigative report, the agency’s press office declined to let Singer speak with him. A spokesman told her it was a local matter and sent her back to the state office in Tallahassee.

Through public records requests, Singer eventually was able to piece together the story of a contagion that had caused 13 deaths and 99 illnesses — the worst the CDC had found in 20 years.

“It’s really expensive to fight this hard” for public information, said Singer, now an editorial writer at the newspaper. She suspects that officials were slow to respond because news of the TB outbreak might have harmed Florida’s tourism industry. “They know that to delay is to deny. . . . They know we have to move on to other stories.”

The stories aren’t always as consequential or as dramatic as a TB outbreak, but Singer’s experience is shared by virtually every journalist on the government beat, from the White House on down. They can recite tales with similar outlines: An agency spokesman — frequently a political appointee — rejects the reporter’s request for interviews, offers partial or nonresponsive replies, or delays responding at all until after the journalist’s deadline has passed.

Interview requests that are granted are closely monitored, reporters say, with a press “minder” sitting in. Some agencies require reporters to pose their questions by e-mail, a tactic that enables officials to carefully craft and vet their replies.

Tensions between reporters and public information officers — “hacks and flacks” in the vernacular — aren’t new, of course. Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give.

But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring “an unprecedented level of openness” to the federal government.

The frustrations boiled over last summer in a letter to President Obama signed by 38 organizations representing journalists and press-freedom advocates. The letter decried “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies” by spokesmen. “We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear,” the groups wrote.

They asked for “a clear directive” from Obama “telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so.”

Obama hasn’t acted on the suggestion. But his press secretary, Josh Earnest, defended the president’s record, noting in a letter to the groups that, among other things, the administration has processed a record number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, established more protection for whistleblowers and posted White House visitor logs for the first time.

“While there is more work to do, the White House and federal agencies are far more accessible and accountable than ever before,” Earnest wrote.

In fact, most federal agencies get subpar grades on one measure of openness: their responsiveness to FOIA requests, which enable reporters and ordinary citizens to collect government records. Eight of the 15 agencies that get the most FOIA requests received a D grade for their compliance, according to a review this month by the nonprofit Center for Effective Government.

Two agencies — Health and Human Services and the State Department — received failing grades.

‘Protected’ information

When Dina Cappiello, until recently the national environment writer for the Associated Press, asked the Interior Department for federal data about bird deaths on wind-energy farms in 2013, she says, she met a stone wall. The industry-supplied information, the agency told her, was “protected” and couldn’t be released because it would harm a private interest.

Cappiello suspected a political motive for the department’s silence: The Obama administration supports the development of wind power, and release of the data might undercut public support if it showed that wind farms kill large numbers of protected species, such as eagles and falcons.

She filed a FOIA request for the records. No dice. “I still haven’t gotten an answer,” she said recently.

The reaction was even more aggressive when Cappiello began asking the Agriculture Department for interviews for a story about the environmental degradation caused by converting non-crop land into cornfields for ethanol production, another administration initiative.

The agency went on the offense, telling officials in the field not to talk to her and her co-writer. A public affairs official further instructed his colleagues not to provide the reporters with the names of farmers for interviews, as they had routinely done for other stories.

“We just want to have a consistent message on the topic,” the official, Jason Johnson, wrote in an e-mail. Cappiello filed another FOIA request for the directive — and noted the e-mail’s existence in her story about the land-conversion policy.

“I think the thread here is that all of these stories are questioning the goals and policies of the administration,” she said. “All of these have the potential to set off controversy.” While government press officials often talk about having “a consistent message,” Cappiello said, “they never seem to insist on having ‘a truthful message.’ I wonder why.”

Other reporters who cover the government express similar concerns. In a survey of 146 such reporters conducted by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in 2012, 76 percent said they had to get approval from a public information officer before speaking to an agency employee; two-thirds said they were prohibited by the agency from interviewing an employee at least some of the time.

The vast majority — 85 percent — agreed with this statement: “The public is not getting all the information it needs because of barriers agencies are imposing on journalists’ reporting practices.”

“It happens all the time,” said freelance journalist Kathryn Foxhall, a health and science reporter who has become active in promoting greater access to government information. “It’s as if the public has no right to know what’s going on inside a government agency.”

Many of the roadblocks reporters say they have encountered at the federal level are also familiar to journalists covering smaller communities, according to another SPJ survey, conducted last year.

Linda Petersen, managing editor of the Valley Journals newspapers in the Salt Lake City area, recalled contacting an employee of the parks and recreation department in suburban Riverton, Utah, (pop. 40,921) two years ago and asking when the town’s annual Easter egg hunt would start. He refused to help, she said, telling her, “I’ve been instructed not to talk to a reporter ever about anything.”

Petersen called the designated public information official and got the starting time.

Spokesmen speak out

As for Stacey Singer, the Florida reporter who probed the TB outbreak, CDC spokesman Scott Bryan said by e-mail that the agency turned her away because “questions about TB outbreaks (or possible TB outbreaks) are best addressed by the state or local departments of health in the affected areas. We routinely refer reporters to state or local officials as they are best able to speak to the latest information.”

Public information professionals say the picture isn’t quite as black and white, or as bleak, as reporters make it. They turn the focus back on journalists. For one thing, they say, many of the reporters they deal with are inexperienced and are tackling complicated subjects on tight deadlines — a formula for getting things wrong without the guidance of a communications official who knows his or her agency.

“Reporters are tweeting, reporters are blogging, they’re on Facebook,” said Tom Reynolds, the associate administrator for public affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency. “EPA is a very science-oriented agency, and it takes a lot of time to understand the work we’re doing across the agency. With less-experienced reporters, it takes even more time.”

The EPA’s communication efforts were the target of a complaint from the Society of Environmental Journalists, which criticized the agency’s slow response to media inquiries after a chemical spill fouled the drinking water around Charleston, W.Va., last year. It cited the case of Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr., who waited a week to get an official comment from the EPA about the water’s potability amid a crisis affecting 300,000 people.

Reynolds, a former Obama campaign official, said the agency has “made adjustments” to address the issue, including adding five people to its communications staff. “We listened and we responded,” he said.

“Not all inquiries can be fulfilled in a timely manner”, the CDC’s Bryan pointed out. At the height of the Ebola outbreak in October, for example, Bryan said his office fielded 1,876 media requests for interviews and information, or 85 every business day.

Ideally, public information officers should be seen as “partners and advocates” for reporters, not as adversaries, said John Verrico, president of the National Association of Government Communicators, a group for government media representatives. “You need to trust that we are getting you complete and accurate information, and we need to trust that you are going to use the information we provide properly and in the context it was intended,” he said.

With both sides warily circling each other, veteran journalists look back on an earlier age and fondly recall how much easier it was to do their jobs.

As a young Newsweek correspondent covering President Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s, Tom DeFrank occasionally stood near the president as he greeted well-wishers on rope lines. On the day would-be assassin Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme fired a shot at Ford in 1975, DeFrank was a few steps behind Ford and ran with the president and his entourage into a building for safety. In the immediate aftermath, he recalls, Ford looked “as white as a ghost.”

That kind of proximity to power is impossible now, said DeFrank, a contributing editor at National Journal. “Access has been shrinking for 25 years, regardless of the president,” he said. “It’s all about controlling the message.”

Trade journalist Jim Dickinson, who has been covering the Food and Drug Administration since 1975, remembers being able to wander the FDA’s halls in search of stories. And he often found important ones — about medical device testing, scientific findings or proposed drug regulations — by popping into offices and talking to government scientists and officials.

These days, Dickinson, the editor of FDA Webview and FDA Review, can’t walk into the agency without an appointment. And he can’t talk to any officials without the consent of the agency’s public information office, which monitors each interview he does.

As a result, Dickinson says, he knows far less today about the inner workings of the FDA than when he was roaming its halls 40 years ago.

And he says the public does, too: “You only get to know what they’re comfortable telling you about it. It’s stultifying.”

~

I just LOVE this. The morons who get 70% of the blame ( the hapless RNC gets the rest) for shafting us with Hopey McChangey are whining about “openness”.

H.Jesus Christ, media morons. WHAT the HELL did you expect ? The first clue you SHOULD have had was when YOU idiots could not access ANY of his past, be it transcripts, vital records, NO other people coming forward, ad nauseum. there were a good many others WARNING you about this clown, but oh, no, you marched right in lockstep.

Now I’m certainly not a trained “journalist”, but my natural curiosity would drive me to find out as much as I could about ANYONE I’m sticking my neck out for. You media morons were clapping, cheering, swooning over the crease in his trousers, getting tingles up your legs, the whole 9 yards, with NEVER a thought about this asshat’s past. What, the names Frank Marshall Davis, William Ayres, Cornell West, Rev. James Wright, none of these gave you ANY indication of this poser’s mindset ?

Whatever this Regime has done to you all, YOU asked for it. No vetting process. No inquiries. NOTHING. So WHY did the media so wholeheartedly endorse this schmuck ? Real simple answer.

When the leftist media saw Obama gaining some traction against Hillary, the asshats decided it would be “history in the making” if THEY could push the idea of the first REAL black president. Never mind he had ZERO real accomplishments. Never mind his past was about as traceable as taking a piss in the Pacific Ocean. Nope, nothing mattered EXCEPT the color of his skin. So as THEY could say to the world  “look, we’re not racist. WE elected the nation’s first black president”.

After 7 years of the stonewalling, the haranguing of the VERY clowns who were instrumental is his election, they, albeit sheepishly, are waking up to the fact THIS asshole gives a shit LESS about THEM, now that THEY served THEIR purpose for HIS benefit.

I’ll wrap this tirade up with this. Media morons, the NEXT time you get a “brilliant” idea, LET.  IT.  PASS. You bastards have done ENOUGH damage. Enjoy that which YOU have brought onto YOURSELVES, along with the REST of us who DID NOT ask for it, and KNEW what this fool was all about.

~

CLYDE. Damn the media morons all to hell.

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10 Responses to NOXIOUS RANT : YOU Asked For It.

  1. captbogus2 says:

    How do you weigh between national security and government cover up?
    It seems presidents now sell rockets secrets to possible future enemies, dismantle protective weaponry in allied countries and sell advanced hardware to sworn enemies..
    But when something that would cast an unfavorable light on governmental policy (like illegals who import TB) it becomes a national security secret.

    • clyde says:

      I think it is rather easy, Cap. If it IS information the public SHOULD know, such as with Ebola, get it out there. IF it is developing plans against an enemy, such as ISIS, keep the pieholes SHUT. Apparently, these media jackwagons thought this Regime was going to “write” their stories FOR them. They were WRONG, and noe they bitch and whine. ZERO sympathy here.

  2. Kathy says:

    Eleanor Holmes Norton even said it to our faces – “You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend.” Fortunately she’s a non-voting rep from DC, but even many of the reps that vote feel the same way and it’s gotten much worse since O squatted in our house.

    You have to wonder how many other issues are there that we know nothing about?

    • clyde says:

      Unfortunately, Kathy, Norton, in a way WAS correct. There are a LOT of things in government we should, and DO NOT need to know. The devil in the details here is WHO is running government at the time of inquiry. She, like leftists are wont to do, just gave a piss poor, arrogantly worded explanation.

  3. CW says:

    >>”…the administration has processed a record number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests…”

    What liars. Some reporter with a brain should ask Josh what PERCENT of the FOIA requests have been fulfilled; but of course Josh won’t have that info handy. He’ll get back to us (when hell freezes over).

    I share your anger, Clyde. These same people were fine with Obama’s secrecy when he ran for office, now they’re whining. I hope they all have to go into Obamacare (without subsidies, of course).

  4. Uriel says:

    My sentiments exactly. I just posted a similar statement yesterday in a whiner/hater blog. Idiots all… yelling we are at fault because we think and read and research while they whine or bootlick the problem maker. They would rather spew venom that actually make sense.

  5. Hardnox says:

    Great rant Clyde. I know your ITD was steaming.

    It would normally be funny about how slow on the uptake these assholes are when we were all pointing out what was painfully obvious.

    Now they are pissed. Good… get in line.

    • clyde says:

      Thanks, Boss. Good thing Mrs. Clyde and the Guys were out for a walk when I was piecing this together ! bwahahahahaha I doubt that the stupid shits of the leftist media will EVER figure out Obama suckered THEM as well.

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