Almost a month after journalists representing dozens of entities signed on to a letter accusing the Obama administration of obstructing reporters and suppressing news coverage, the group responsible for organizing the unified complaint had not received a response.
In total, the SPJ reported that 48 national organizations signed on to its letter.
According to a statement by the Society of Professional Journalists, the group sent a follow-up letter earlier this month and finally received a letter in return.
Unfortunately, the press release explained, the response lacked any serious review of the numerous issues included in the original letter.
“In a response letter received [Monday] from the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest laid out ways he believes the president has been transparent,” the SPJ explained, “which included his protection of whistleblowers, a streamlined FOIA process and the White House’s provision of online visitor logs. Nowhere, however, did Earnest address the other concerns raised by the dozens of journalism groups in their July 8 letter, particularly journalists’ restricted access to sources, government scientists and officials who have critical information of public interest.”
SPJ President David Cuillier was upset by the incomplete response, though he is holding out hope that the administration will take a deeper look at the concerns journalists raised.
“Typical spin and response through non-response,” he said in describing the letter. “While we applaud efforts to increase people’s access to their government through websites and FOIA, nowhere does the White House address specific concerns about excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens.”
In his response, Earnest wrote that he doesn’t “expect [journalists] to be satisfied,” noting that they would not be doing their job if they were not “constantly advocating for more access and more transparency.”
He concluded, however, that Obama is living up to his promise of being open about his administration despite the issues addressed in the initial letter.
“The President’s commitment to transparency and the crucial role of the independent press is unwavering,” Earnest wrote. “The President has set an historically high standard of transparency that is part of the legacy to which future presidents will aspire and the President and his Administration are justifiably proud of these accomplishments.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom