A minute after the POS took office, the White House website declared Obama’s administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.”
In reality, Obama’s press office demands — and gets — veto power over what statements can be quoted and how.
Here are excerpts from Jeremy Peters’ article “Latest Word on the Trail? I Take It Back” for the New York Times, July 15, 2012:
The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.
They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.
Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.
The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message. …
Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House — almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail. …
Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them. No one said the editing altered the meaning of a quote. The changes were almost always small and seemingly unnecessary, they said.
Those who did speak on the record said the restrictions seem only to be growing. “It’s not something I’m particularly proud of because there’s a part of me that says, ‘Don’t do it, don’t agree to their terms,’ ” said Major Garrett, a correspondent for The National Journal. …
Reporters who have covered the Obama presidency say the quote-approval process fits a pattern by this White House of finding new ways to limit its exposure in the news media.
Click here to read the whole NYT article.