A new twist on ‘freedom’ and ‘transparency’

Over the last several weeks, congressional Republicans have repeatedly been embarrassed by recordings from their town-hall meetings. Especially after the vote in support of the radical House Republican agenda, angry constituents have been pressing their representatives for answers, and the results have often been unflattering.

Some Republicans have a new plan to deal with this problem. Does it involve saying fewer dumb things? No, it involves banning recording devices.

[S]ome congressmen are concerned about what could happen if citizen journalists repost their town halls on the Internet. At least two members of Congress have taken extraordinary measures to shut down the spread of information.

ThinkProgress readers passed along the following photos, taken outside town halls held by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV). Barletta specifically barred citizen journalists and other non-credentialed media from recording the event, while Heck took a more encompassing approach of “no recording devices” at all.

Yes, ThinkProgress has photos of signs posted on the doors on congressmen’s town-hall meetings. Barletta’s reads, “Please note: Only credentialed media will be allowed to use video and audio recording devides.” Heck’s reads, “Welcome to Congressman Joe Heck’s Town Hall. No Recording Devices Please.”

TP’s Scott Keyes responded, “[W]ith members like Lou Barletta and Joe Heck barring citizens from recording the events and preventing those who couldn’t attend from seeing what the congressmen had to say, one has to ask: what they trying to hide?”

That’s a very good question.

For that matter, if public officials, whose salaries are paid by taxpayers, hold a public event on public property, and then ban the public from recording it, is that how Tea Partiers define “freedom”? Is this what the GOP meant when they promised more “transparency”?

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation