Today in OpenGov: Trump continues campaign against the media


Today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, & analysis, including continued conflict between President Trump and the news media…

Trump vs. the media

The ongoing conflict between the Trump Administration and the media showed no signs of letting up over the weekend. On Friday, President Trump criticized “organizations that publish anonymously sourced reports that reflect poorly on him as” fake news during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (New York Times)

Later in the day, Press Secretary Sean Spicer excluded a number of news outlets — including the New York Times, BuzzFeed, CNN, POLITICO, the Los Angeles Times, and the BBC — from an un-televised briefing. The move drew criticism from the White House Correspondants Association and others. (Bloomberg) Spicer defended the move during the briefing, noting “It was my decision to decide to expand the pool. We are going to aggressively push back. We’re just not going to sit back and let, you know, false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there…” (The Hill)

  • Other news organizations — including the Associated Press and Time Magazine — chose to skip the briefing after hearing that other organizations would be excluded. (The Hill)
  • The Washington Post shared audio from the briefing.
  • Joel Simon shared his opinion in the New York Times over the weekend: “The unrelenting attacks on the news media damage American democracy. They appear to be part of a deliberate strategy to undermine public confidence and trust by sowing confusion and uncertainty about what is true. But they do even greater damage outside the United States, where America’s standing as a global beacon of press freedom is being drastically eroded.”

On Thursday, the Columbia Journalism Review reflected on what makes for genuine, trustworthy journalism and how important it is today. “Genuine news, and not fake news or hyped news or corrupt news, puts reality first; it does not subordinate honest reporting to ideological consistency or political advocacy. It does not curry favor with advertisers, or with the publisher’s business interests, or even with the tastes of the audience.”

Trump vs. Leaks

Meanwhile, POLITICO is focusing on the Trump Administration’s continued difficulty with — and rhetoric against — leaks. From an article published there on Saturday:

“Press secretary Sean Spicer is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures that include random phone checks of White House staffers, overseen by White House attorneys.

The push to snuff out leaks to the press comes after a week in which President Donald Trump strongly criticized the media for using unnamed sources in stories and expressed growing frustration with the unauthorized sharing of information by individuals in his administration.”

  • This week’s POLITICO Magazine looks at the history of leaks to try to explain why they are likely to keep coming despite President Trump’s expressed desire to stop them.

state of the states

  • The Fort Lauderdale, Florida Police Department launched an open data portal earlier this month. The site provides public access to data on arrests, incidents, calls for services, citations, accidents, and employees.  (Code for Fort Lauderdale)
  • MuckRock is looking for help filing Freedom of Information requests in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and New Hampshire. In exchange, they are offering a “Professional MuckRock account – 20 requests a month and all that comes with them – and the gratitude of the transparency community.”
  • Rhode Island is in the market for a Chief Digital/Chief Information officer.

around the world

  • The Center For Public Integrity “announced the spinoff of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) today.” The ICIJ, launched in 1997, helped coordinate more than 400 journalists working on the Panama Papers investigation.
  • Civic Hall‘s Civicist shared a story, initially reported by G0v in Taiwan, highlighting the power of open data. “By collecting real-time pollution data, an environmental group discovered Taiwan’s largest petrochemical plant exceeded the emissions quota for pollution over 25,000 times. The plant didn’t pay a cent for it.”

Upcoming events

The fifth annual Open Data Day is happening this Saturday, March 4th. At least 252 events are scheduled around the globe.

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the fifth time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.

All outputs are open for everyone to use and re-use.”

  • Open Knowledge International, SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos, Article 19, the Hewlett Foundation, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office combined to award more than $16,000 worth of mini-grants to coincide with Open Data Day. Check out the winners here.

Sunshine Week, an “annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community” is slated for March 12-18th. We will be highlighting associated events and stories as Sunshine Week approaches.

We do our best to highlight relevant events in this newsletter, but we need your help to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. If you are planning or attending an event that you think we should know about, please let us know

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