Newsweek Shocker: 'Obama Closes Doors On Openness'

In today's "You're Not Going to Believe This" segment, Barack Obama has gone back on his promise of creating an open and transparent administration, and the good folks at Newsweek not only noticed it, but reported it.

Yes, the magazine that seems to have Obama on its cover every week actually exposed the object of their affection for not only going back on a campaign promise, but also for contradicting his own highly-publicized decree made the first full day he was in office.

Maybe even better, the author, Michael Isikoff, was the same reporter who was about to break the Monica Lewinsky story in January 1998, but was stopped by Newsweek higher-ups.

Readers are advised to tighten their seatbelts and prepare themselves for an alternate media reality:

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged "presidential communications." The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. [...]

After Obama's much-publicized Jan. 21 "transparency" memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a "presumption" of disclosure for FOIA requests. This reversal of Bush policy was intended to restore a standard set by President Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies "if practicable" for cases involving "pending litigation." Dan Metcalfe, the former longtime chief of FOIA policy at Justice, says the passage and other "lawyerly hedges" means the Holder memo is now "astonishingly weaker" than the Reno policy.


Of course, this revelation would have been even more surprising if it had been on Newsweek's cover. Unfortunately, that space is only available for puff pieces about the new president.

Newsweek Michael Isikoff
Noel Sheppard's picture