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Where's the transparency, Mr. President?

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl held captive by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2002.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl held captive by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2002.
cbc.ca

Today President Barack Obama will sign a law intended to provide more protections for a free press around the world. The Daniel Pearl Freedom of Press Act will be an expansion of efforts to identify countries that violate press freedom.


Daniel Pearl was a Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by Islamic militant terrorists in 2002. He was in Pakistan investigating the connection between Richard Reid—the shoe bomber—and Al-Qaeda, when he was kidnapped, tortured, and beheaded.

Daniel Pearl was murdered by Islamic militant terrorists. That’s history, though according to Attorney General Eric Holder, identifying anyone as an Islamic militant terrorist nowadays is a no-no.


Yet in March 2007 during a military hearing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed to have personally beheaded Pearl. That’d be the same Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the Attorney General wants to put on trial in a New York City courtroom. But I digress.


It is entirely proper and perhaps even noble for the president to take this stand on behalf of a free press around the globe. However, his action is tangled up in irony, coming when it does. In just over a week Obama has railed against the new media, and actively engaged in moves designed to clamp down on information.


On May 9, 2010 at Hampton University, President Obama told the graduating class that they lived in an age where “. . .information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment.”


That’s a remarkable renunciation of the free flow of information. The fact that it came from a man who achieved the Oval Office by using the social networking sites of the new media better than any other candidate, makes it all the more stunning.


We are in the midst of an information revolution. The Internet will be seen by future historians as a significant shift that radically changed how the masses received the news. In transformative terms it is possibly more consequential than the invention of the printing press.


The public is no longer hog-tied to what backroom network gurus decide to tell us. On any given issue, we have access to thousands of different views and spins, which is often enlightening.


Granted, there’s a lot of noise and clutter floating around the Internet, but if freshly minted college graduates do not have the wherewithal or brains to sort through the garbage to mine useful info then their diplomas are worthless and ought to be used as toilet paper.


Is not education about individuals learning how to think so that they can reason through the maze of life? If the president truly believes that “information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment” for this generation of college graduates, that belief is a repudiation of the American education system.


Two days after the commencement address at Hampton University, a video was posted on the White House website that increases the irony of President Obama signing the Daniel Pearl Freedom of Press Act.

It was Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan speaking in “her own words” about her life and perspective. The “interview” was conducted by a White House staffer on the payroll of the Obama Administration. The piece of fluff was nothing more than a slick infomercial designed to bypass the press.


Some have simply dismissed this tactic, but it ought to trouble us. We are seeing an effective strategy in which President Obama regularly uses new media tools to get around traditional media.


The administration is efficient and systematic. It is honing its skills to present an unfiltered message that makes the president, his policies, and his actions look good in every instance and circumstance. Pravda used to perform this task for the old Soviet Union.


Why is President Obama determined to control the media and free flow of information? Is the speech at Hampton University a warning that censorship is on a near horizon? Will Elena Kagan ever answer hard questions from a real journalist? Where’s the transparency promised?

Comments

  • The Better Man 4 years ago

    "Why is President Obama determined to control the media and free flow of information?"

    A more important question is: What, if anything at all, is President Obama NOT determined to control under his socialist agenda?

    "Where's the transparency, Mr. President?"

    No matter how polished the outside of a glass is made to appear, it cannot be transparent if the inside is full of crap.

  • 50 Caliber 4 years ago

    Ken, an astute warning of the great American downfall. Like the Roman Empire, I fear we are in the phase of falling as folks want the government to do everything for them, at least that is my thoughts on what we are seeing. Like the old black and white television series, "Don't touch your sets, All of what your seeing will be controlled" or something like that. I'm afraid that old science fiction is coming to fruition. Great commentary on the seemingly "American Condition"

  • NJ Colborne 4 years ago

    Welcome to the land of the free. Newspeak, here we come.

  • Rhozier 4 years ago

    Great article. It discusses one of many problems with this administration. The guy who promised to bring Americans together has created the most divisiveness I have seen in the country since the Vietnam war. It is both sad and troublesome to see. Keep writing and spreading the word. As a country we are at a crossroads and the next election is crucial. We can't replace the President in November, but we can vote in enough right-thinking and acting legislatures to stop his agenda and make his last two years a lame-duck administration. Your articles and insight are helpful in inculcating those who must get out the vote.

  • Examiner Reader 4 years ago

    I think Obama is totally transparent -- we can see right through him and his tactics!