Looks like C-SPAN isn't the only news organization calling for more transparency in the health reform debates. The American Society of News Editors this week stated its official position on the matter, while a Los Angeles Times columnist called out President Obama for essentially not living up to his campaign promises.
ASNE President Martin Kaiser said that the healthcare talks thus far have had "an inexcusable level of secrecy" and called the proceedings "an affront" to democracy. Meanwhile, Kaiser pointed out that closed-door proceedings could turn off supporters and opponents alike. (Scott Brown, who won the open Senate seat in Massachusetts vacated by the late Ted Kennedy, said that Tuesday's election result showed that voters were "tired of the backroom deals.")
"Openness is not a partisan matter," Kaiser said. "In fact, it's quite the opposite, often serving as one of the uniquely unifying factors for those with differing views."
Los Angeles Times columnist James Rainey said the media is beginning to believe that "the ‘change' president has settled into the same cloak-and-swagger habits" as presidents past. He specifically points out that talks to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the healthcare bill between the administration and other Democratic leaders have been closed, and adds that the more Obama's popularity drops, the more reserved the president seems to become.
"With midterms still 10 months away, our scholar president has the time to bring his public access grade up to snuff," Rainey writes. "But talking about open government is one thing. Working at it every day is quite another."
To learn more:
- read this ASNE statement
- check out this Los Angeles Times commentary