The Blog

Press Briefing Transcripts Added to WhiteHouse.gov

3:30 PM, Jan 29, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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I and others noticed last week there were no press briefing transcripts on the WhiteHouse.gov website, despite the Obama's administration's promises of increased transparency.

It seemed like a deliberate omission considering WhiteHouse.gov looked like a finished product when it switched on flawlessly at the moment of Obama's swearing-in, yet there was no place for such information. Several days after Robert Gibbs' first press briefing, a new section appeared under "The Briefing Room" called "Press Pool," which conceivably could have been a spot for transcripts, but had no content. It later disappeared, and has now been replaced by "Press Briefings," where there are transcripts of the daily briefings.

It was a rough week on the technology front for the new administration, as the new employees endured an hours-long e-mail outage due to an apparent inability to keep the Outlook server up and running. That outage didn't happen until several days after Gibbs' first press briefing.

I was about to say this marks my restoration of faith in the Obama administration's transparency promises, but then I found- via the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation, no less- that the White House broke its promise to post bills on the Internet for public comment on Bill No. 1.

As Paula Abdul once wisely said, two steps forward, two steps back.