Brent Bozell
Team Obama came out of that disastrous first debate blaming the debacle on one thing after another, finally settling on the most vicious excuse: Mitt Romney only won because he was a brazen liar. David Axelrod was obnoxious enough to cite as his moral witness one Bill Clinton, who is certainly an authority on lying with a barrel full of chutzpah.

Axelrod pledged in every interview that Team Obama would be holding Romney accountable. Fine. That's political theater. But is there anyone in the media who holds Team Obama accountable? Most journalists are too busy hounding Romney. Bloomberg News is an exception. It is willing to look at how Obama's campaign promises are faring.

Obama came into office pledging to create "an unprecedented level of openness in government" and to "act promptly" to make information public. Surprise, surprise: Obama is just another politician. In June, Bloomberg reporters filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 57 federal agencies. The reporters sought data on a very basic level: taxpayer-supported travel by Cabinet secretaries and top officials. Just eight of the agencies met the 20-day window for disclosure required by law. Of 20 Cabinet-level agencies, only the Small Business Administration responded within the legal time limit. (Who knew that Obama elevated SBA to Cabinet-level status in January? A lot of good it did.)

The records of five other Cabinet-level departments -- Commerce, Labor, Treasury, the Office of Budget and Management, and the U.S. Trade Representative -- were turned over to Bloomberg past the deadline. "Fourteen either haven't fully complied or haven't responded at all, including the Department of Justice -- whose mandate includes enforcing compliance of disclosure laws."

Bloomberg acknowledged the government processed over 600,000 FOIA filings last year. "But it was the president and his attorney general, Eric Holder, who publicly designated openness and transparency as the guiding lights of this administration. The benchmark of timely disclosure is their own. And unlike other inaugural promises -- world peace, say, or campaign finance reform -- this one seemed within grasp."

Some refusals were laughable. The State Department, for example, said it couldn't compile travel records for Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, until July 2013, more than a year after the request was made.

The media love to march around saying "sunlight is the best disinfectant" and alleging that they're in favor of government transparency. But when Democrats are in power, they don't really believe in spending any time on that "openness" blather.


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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