Earnest defends notion of 'most transparent administration' in US history

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The White House on Sunday stood by President Obama's position that he continues to be the most transparent president in U.S. history, despite widespread complaints from journalists and other Americans about a lack of information or apparent misinformation.

“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history,” new White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Earnest said he “absolutely, absolutely” sticks by Obama’s line about having the most transparent administration, after continued criticism about apparent attempts to not make full disclosures.

Among the criticisms are that the president and his administration misled Americans by telling them they could keep their existing health insurance plans under ObamaCare, intentionally tried to conceal what sparked the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed and prosecuted federal employees who should have been protected under the whistleblower protection act.

Last week, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Poynter Institute and others sent a letter to Obama complaining about the lack of access to information from federal agencies, citing several recent examples.

And last month, Steve Thomma, a senior White House reporter for McClatchy newspapers and president of the White House Correspondents Association, expressed some frustration about the White House posting its own photographs of official events.

“We have no problem with the White House sending out that stuff,” he told FoxNews.com. “But we’d also like to be in the room.”

Earnest suggested at least some of the complaints were part of the traditional struggle between reporters and government.

“They're all journalists,” he said. “The day that they sort of sit back and say, you know, we don't need to write a letter, the White House is telling us everything that they're supposed to, is the day that they're no longer doing their jobs.”

Earnest also said the administration has taken several steps “to give people greater insight into what's happening at the White House.”

He argued the White House guest log is routinely and voluntarily posted on the Internet and that reporters now have access to presidential events held in private homes.