Little White (House) Lies

Posted: August 25, 2009 by April Watkins in Health Care Reform, White House
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lying man“A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity.”

Baltasar Gracian,
Spanish philosopher and writer (1601-1658)

The quote above is a simple line of nine words, yet its point is profound. One lie, one bout of unfaithfulness, one deceiving action will always lead to a mistrust that can never be truly healed.  While forgiveness and understanding can occur, it cannot erase the haunting question in the mind of the victim… “Can I truly trust this person again?”

This, unfortunately, is the predicament in which many Americans find themselves when looking at our government, especially The White House, this week.  “The White House” is the official executive unit of our President. Any and all correspondence, announcements, actions, or statements from its staff are representative of the Obama Administration.  So, when a series of contradictions occur, one has to wonder…what’s really happening?

The White House

The White House

Several weeks ago, the Administration launched a campaign to promote the President’s health care reform ideas.  Knowing that this subject had faced tough objections in the past, The White House wanted to be proactive in getting their message to the masses rather than be in a position of rebuttal.  Sadly, like most of their previous decisions, the plan was not well vetted.  

ACTION #1         

A Web site was created…(ironically) called Reality Check (http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck).  ItsReality Check site information not only answers concerns, but provides talking points for like-minded citizens and encourages the public to help spread the word (i.e. selected information) about health care reform.  The shocking aspect of this site is a tattle-tell portal for American citizens to report “fishy” information being spread by opponents of the President’s health agenda.  Yes, you read this correct…and we are NOT in Russia, folks. 

I was, and am still, astounded at the boldness of the Administration to activate such an operation in such a public forum!  When online bloggers learned of this action, they immediately began to shout “FOUL!”

 ACTION #2 

Only a week later, citizens began receiving unsolicited emails from David Axlerod, a senior advisor at The White House. You may even have received one. Confused and concerned over privacy issues, hundreds of these citizens called the media, especially FoxNews, to inquire about the emails.

Garrett and Gibbs

Garrett and Gibbs

During a daily briefing the next day, FoxNews senior White House correspondent Major Garrett questioned the Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about these emails.  Gibbs denied knowing anything about the said emails and implied that he would have to see them to believe the reports. A heated exchange between Garrett and Gibbs ensued with Gibbs curtly dismissing the issue.  Wrong move…again.  This scene created a huge buzz in the media and online making the issue even more widely known. 


ACTION #3

Now, Americans were asking how The White House got their private email addresses and what was being done with thesecrets faces information gathered through the “fishy” tattle-tell portal.  This was answered quickly by a White House statement that suggested the unsolicited email addresses were probably provided by “outside” or “third-party groups.” Further, they announced that additional security measures had been made to the Web site to avoid future tampering by third parties and the “fishy” tattle-tale portal had been “deactivated.”

Angry town hallSimultaneously, Congress members were meeting with their constituents at town hall meetings.  Across the country, unprecedented gatherings of constituents voiced their displeasure to their Senators and Representatives about the government’s actions, especially their disagreement with the proposed health care reforms.    

ACTION #4 

The White House sees that the American citizens’ uproar is growing and (finally) decides to make a statement in hopes of calming the fires.  Rather than tell the truth, an online statement is issued that blames the “controversy over its Web site and mass emails on viral rumors, ‘fear-mongering’ and “sinister conspiracy theories’ … EVEN as it acknowledges problems with its online practices.” [FoxNews quote] 

ACTION #5

Over the weekend, a new explanation was offered.  The White House has, at last, ADMITTED to having hired a communications firm to distribute mass emails.  What?! 

This ordeal is far from over, as it has drawn the attention of both the ACLU, in regard to the privacy rights of American citizens, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who questions the legality of The White House’s actions.   We are sure to learn more in the coming weeks. This may well be the Watergate of the Obama Administration.
This series of outright lies from The White House has put a chasm between the Administration and the people. 

How are we now to believe anything we are told? 

How can we trust that our best interests are truly being considered? 

What can we expect in the future? 

It is a troubling portent.  And that is…Why It Matters.

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