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Over the past few months, as White House cameras have been granted free reign behind the scenes, officials have blocked broadcast news outlets from events traditionally open to coverage and limited opportunities to publicly question the president himself.

Obama's recent signing of the historic New START treaty with Russia and his post-State of the Union cabinet meeting, for example, were both closed to reporters in a break with tradition. And during a recent question and answer session with the president and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House imposed an unusual limit of just one question each from the U.S. and Canadian press corps.

"The administration has narrowed access by the mainstream media to an unprecedented extent," said ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton, who has covered seven administrations. "Access here has shriveled."

Members of the press have always had quibbles with White House media strategies, calling cut-backs in access an affront to transparency, even as administration officials insist they're simply taking advantage of new technologies.

But some say the current dynamic is different, and dangerous.

"They're opening the door to kicking the press out of historic events, and opening the door to having a very filtered format for which they give the American public information that doesn't have any criticism allowed," said University of Minnesota journalism professor and political communication analyst Heather LaMarre.


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That was one of the many CHANGES that he campaigned about, that there would be total transparency, that all negotiations would be shown on CSPAN. Didn't see anything on CSPAN when the Health Care bill was being put together behind closed doors or anything else that he's done. Just another one of the many lies that he has spewed. Pretty much as I expected. It's one thing to promise to do something and another thing to actually do it. Also one thing to criticize a president and promise to do it differently/better and another to actually walk in their shoes. I think he was so ignorant of the job he didn't know that he couldn't fulfill many of the changes he promised. Some promises he could fulfill but has chosen not to.
Obama's recent signing of the historic New START treaty with Russia and his post-State of the Union cabinet meeting, for example, were both closed to reporters in a break with tradition.

Yeah, seems like those things are pretty much just photo ops, but I don't see any reason why reporters shouldn't have been present.

And during a recent question and answer session with the president and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House imposed an unusual limit of just one question each from the U.S. and Canadian press corps.

God help us! Just one question apiece for Stephen Harper?! What will become of our republic?

I'm not saying that the White House stiff-arming the press shouldn't be taken seriously, but if those are the best two examples ABC can come up with I think I'll save my outrage for now.

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