Defending Obamacare with 'a Soviet-Style Power-Grab’
Can the White House get away with transparently political attempts to silence the press?
1:30 PM, Sep 28, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) new media policy rightfully has journalists up in arms:
Poynter goes on to print Dickinson's letter in full, where he describes HHS' new policy as a '‘Soviet-style power-grab." It's bad enough that America is devolving into an onerous regulatory state, but impeding those who report on federal agencies and the rules they make is inexcusable. It's hard to conjure a rationale for this that isn't wholly political, given the unending stream of unflattering reports about the impact of Obamacare as HHS struggles to implement it.
And the Obama administration has a disturbing track record of unjustifiable press restrictions. Things were particularly bad during the gulf oil spill:
In response to these media restrictions, Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., introduced an amendment requiring that federal officials "allow free and open access to the media of oil spill clean up activity occurring on public lands or public shorelines, including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill." Democrats, then still in control of Congress, wouldn't allow a vote on Broun's amendment. And while federal officials were busy squelching reports on the oil spill, the White House was sending a "2012 rescue team" to Florida to try and deal with any political fallout that might hurt the president.
Between the new HHS rules and the gulf oil spill, the White House has twice imposed draconian press restrictions that are transparently designed to help the president's reelection effort. It's nice to see the editor of FDA Review speaking out against the latest media crackdown, but that's not enough. The national media spoke out strongly during the gulf oil spill, and this latest media policy deserves equally severe condemnation.