March 31st, 2011
04:19 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A group of transparency advocates recognized President Obama on Monday for his commitment to a more open and transparent government.
No doubt some much needed good news for the White House, which has been mired in budget negotiations on the Hill and defining the conflict in Libya.
But, if a tree falls in a forest and no one's there to hear it….does it make a sound?
The White House not only closed the meeting to the press (despite requests from the advocates to invite reporters), but it also failed to even put it on the president’s public schedule.
A move one of the transparency advocates who participated in the 20-minute long Oval Office meeting called “boneheaded.”
“I hope that this blunder falls into what I call the ‘klutz’ category of governing,” Gary Bass with OMB Watch wrote on his organization’s website today. “What irony: a meeting on transparency that was not disclosed beforehand,” he added.
The award ceremony was originally scheduled for March 16th and open to the press pool, but was postponed “due to changes in the president’s schedule.”
Reporters only learned of Monday’s clandestine affair after several of the transparency advocates blogged about their White House meeting. Of course you can guess what happened next.
“Instead of the story being about what the president had to say during the meeting and about the substance of the administration's openness policies, the narrative has become about a secret meeting,” Bass wrote. “That's a real shame, but it's a consequence of not addressing the optics and not ensuring that the meeting was transparent.”
But one of the advocates present at the ceremony, Project on Government Oversight's Danielle Brian, praised the private meeting.
“The meeting, which had been scheduled for 10 minutes, lasted a little over 20. Rather than it being a photo op, it was everything we hoped: We returned POTUS attention to the need to do more to open the government, while giving him appropriate accolades for his having put the issues on the table in the first place," she wrote Tuesday.