‘They’ve Shown Us A Lot of What of They Want to Show Us’

Howard Fineman makes the case for Obama's supposed most transparent admin 'on one level'


MSNBC contributor and Huffington Post editor Howard Fineman made the case Tuesday that the Obama administration has lived up to its transparency goals “on one level”: They’ve shown us a lot of what they want to show us.

S.E. CUPP: When you look back over the course of his first term, and when you look at how often this administration has invoked the Espionage Act, when you look at the drone program…the lack of access to the president. Do you really think he can make a fair case that this has been the most transparent administration in history?

FINEMAN: Well, on one level probably, yes. They’ve shown us a lot of what they want to show us. So it’s transparent in the sense, by sheer volume, there’s a lot of information out there.

CUPP: You mean in terms of leaks and that sort of thing?

FINEMAN: No, not in terms of leaks. They do put stuff out on the Internet. They do put a lot of information out there. They complain, with some justification, that a lot of the national press corps doesn’t pay attention to that stuff out there. That’s true. But most of it is not where the news is. The news is in the things that they don’t put out there for the most part.

Obama proclaimed Thursday his was the “most transparent administration in history” after fielding a question about his record against his campaign promises in a Google Hangout.

As the Washington Free Beacon’s CJ Ciaramella noted Thursday, the administration’s record on transparency has been a source of disappointment to government watchdog groups:

The administration often points to the White House visitor logs as a tangible example of its commitment to transparency. However, emails revealed that lobbyists sometimes meet with senior White House staff in a Caribou Coffee cafe across the street from the executive mansion to avoid being included in the visitor logs.

The administration’s reforms to the Freedom of Information Act have also fallen short of its goals.

A government-wide audit performed by the National Security Archives in December found 62 of 99 federal agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since Holder issued a 2009 memorandum instructing them to adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure.

The audit also revealed that 56 agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since the passage of the OPEN Government Act of 2007, whichmandated agencies retool their FOIA offices, including fee structures and reporting.