Friday, September 30, 2011

HHS Defending Obamacare With "A Soviet-Style Power-Grab'

Continuing with the Obama administration disturbing track record of unjustifiable, 'Soviet-style' press restrictions ... now the Obama administration is forbidding HHS staff members from speaking with reporters without permission from the Department's information police.
Jim Romenesko writes at Poynter:

The Department of Health and Human Services' just-released media policy makes it official that staff members and reporters are forbidden to speak to each other without reporting to public information officers and supervisors. The rules have "formalized a creeping information-control mechanism that informally began during the Clinton Administration and was accelerated by the Bush and Obama administrations," writes FDA Webview & FDA Review editor Jim Dickinson.

"The U.S. now takes a large step toward joining other information-controlling countries like my native Australia, where government employees who talk with the news media without permission commit a federal crime. I came to the U.S. in 1974 to escape this oppression."Read the whole piece here.

Romenesko goes on to show Dickinson's letter in full, in which he describes HHS' new policy as a "Soviet-style power-grab." As Mark Hemingway notes at TWS, it's bad enough that America is devolving into an onerous regulatory state, but impeding those who report on federal agencies and the rules they make is inexcusable. It's hard to conjure a rationale for this that isn''t wholly political, given the unending stream of unflattering reports about the impact of Obamacare as HHS struggles to implement it...


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