Pick a Truth, Any Truth
June 8, 1945, President Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9568, ordering the release of top secret World War II documents. He did so for two reasons:
- The President hoped that much of the technical information released to the public would help spur growth and development in the private sector and thereby stimulate the country’s post-war economy.
- President Truman wanted to be proactive in supporting the ever growing demand by the American people of their, “right to know,” what their government was doing.
The right to know became a very sensitive issue after the revelation of how the Nazi propaganda machine distributed fake news, movies, and false war reports to their own people.
Executive Order 9568 was the foundation upon which the Federal Publication Board was formed. Now known as the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). This agency operates under the Department of Commerce with congressional oversight.
The NTIS is responsible for reviewing, classifying, and regularly releasing all federally generated scientific and technical reports when national security is no longer an issue.
President Truman’s bold move in issuing Executive Order 9568 was the first step to ongoing legislation aimed at government transparency, including the passing of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed in 1966, which grants the right for Americans to petition the government for the release of information from federal agencies.
Today we are witnessing a new era where the President, through his power of the White House, is trying to suppress investigations and the release of certain information to the public.
- Since January of this year, there have been over 100 complaints from congressmen who have made standard information requests of the White House, only to have their enquiries ignored.
- Representatives of nationally recognized media are routinely being denied information regarding the policies and actions taken by the President and his key advisors.
- Currently, investigations are underway to determine if the President tried to suppress FBI investigations into the conduct of his own staff and political campaign activities.
- The White House Press Secretary continually denies media press releases from public media sources and presents conflicting and unsubstantiated information, which the White House refers to as alternate facts.
In your journalforlife, take a few moments to reflect on this trend coming now from the White House.
Do you think it is about time the government becomes more secretive and self-protective, or should we demand to continue down the path President Truman laid out for us in 1945?
We welcome you to post your journal entry to this Journal Challenge, or discuss this challenge, in our forum, Common Ground.
“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” –John F. Kennedy
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” –Confucius
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” –George Bernard Shaw
Your opinion and ideas on this topic are always appreciated. Please leave a reply.
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