Tapper Blasts Obama as Hypocrite for Lecturing Press to Do Their Jobs

CNN host: White House has abysmal record on transparency

March 29, 2016

CNN's Jake Tapper had sharp words Tuesday for President Obama after the latter's lecture of the media the previous night, calling Obama a hypocrite because of his poor record on transparency since taking office.

Obama demanded at a media awards dinner that the Fourth Estate hold presidential candidates more accountable. He scolded the press for enabling a candidate like Donald Trump and suggested it had a greater responsibility than to hand someone a microphone.

"President Obama made many salient points," Tapper said. "His message was a good one, but was President Obama the right messenger?"

After briefly recapping Obama's address, Tapper said that for many journalists, "the messenger was a curious one."

"Many believe that Obama's call for us to probe and dig deeper and find out more has been made far more difficult by his administration than any in recent decades. A far cry from the assurances he offered when he first took office," Tapper said.

Indeed, Obama promised transparency would be a touchstone of his administration, and he has claimed to have the "most transparent administration in history."

"Obama hasn't delivered," Pro Publica reporter Justin Elliott wrote earlier this month. "In fact, FOIA has been a disaster under his watch."

He went on to write:

Newly uncovered documents (made public only through a FOIA lawsuit) show the Obama administration aggressively lobbying against reforms proposed in Congress. The Associated Press found last year that the administration had set a record for censoring or denying access to information requested under FOIA, and that the backlog of unanswered requests across the government had risen by 55 percent, to more than 200,000.

A recent analysis found the Obama administration set a record of failing nearly 130,000 times to respond to public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Also, Tapper noted the Obama administration had used the Espionage Act to go after more leakers and whistleblowers than all previous White Houses combined. In the package, Tapper aired footage of former spokesman Jay Carney promising that Obama did not feel reporters should be prosecuted for doing their jobs.

Tapper closed by quoting former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, who helped break the Watergate scandal and said in 2013 that Obama had the "most aggressive" administration toward the press since Richard Nixon.

"Maybe, just maybe, your lecturing would be better delivered to your own administration," Tapper said.