President Obama Receives Transparency Award But No Press is There to See It

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President Obama received an award for his transparency in government on Monday, but you'd never know it because the press wasn't there to witness the meeting.

The award was originally supposed to be given to the president two weeks ago, but the White House cancelled the event that day. Not that there was going to be extensive coverage of that meeting either. The small number of reporters who cover the president daily -- known as the travel pool -- were only going to be allowed in for a brief part of the meeting.

But that's certainly more access than what happened on Monday.

According to the White House, the meeting was the first time open government advocates could remember sitting with a president and discussing government transparency.

Monday's event was also buried in a busy news day for the President where taped a Univision townhall and gave a major speech on the conflict in Libya. The rescheduled event was also not on his official schedule, but the original one was.

Lucy Dalglish, of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said her group made it clear to Obama that while his efforts have been strong, there remains more that has to be done at all levels of the administration.

"Not only is it important for the president and agency heads to commit to open government, but the message must also make its way down to those in the agencies who actually release the information. Those of us at the meeting committed to working with the White House to ensure that this continues," Dalglish said.

But Dalglish also praised the White House for agreeing to the Oval Office meeting, something she says no other president has ever done.

The day the original event was postponed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney vehemently defended his boss and his transparency when Fox's own Wendell Goler questioned Carney about the lack of coverage that day.

"This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he's been committed to that since he ran for President and he's taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that," Carney said on March 16. No word yet on what the White House will say now that the award has been given - behind closed doors.

The award was part of Sunshine Week, a push from groups to highlight openness in government. During that same week reports came out from the Associated Press and George Washington University with data showing White House wasn't being as open as they have been pledging.