Commentary: The diminishing importance of the “right to know”

Jacob Parker


Monday saw the beginning of Sunshine Week— not just the kind that seems to have ended winter for this part of 2015. As stated by it’s website, Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

The irony was lost on no one Monday morning (National Freedom of Information Day) when the news broke that the White House administration announced it was removing a federal regulation that subjected their office to the Freedom of Information Act.

It seems as if the comments President Obama made in a Google+ “Fireside Hangout” a little over a year ago, in which he called his administration the most transparent in history, have been forgotten. 

Government officials have a right to private conversations not pertaining to national issues, despite the controversy pertaining to Hillary Clinton late last week, when it was discovered she had used a personal e-mail. However, it seems as if this most recent announcement by the White House administration is attempting to prevent another situation like this one before it begins.

Transparency in the past few years has been the front-running political issue. Between Snowden leaks, undisclosed NASA missions and sketchy facts about how ISIS ended up stocked with American weapons, it’s no surprise Gallup polls have revealed the majority of Americans believe our government is the biggest problem facing the country, four months in a row.