“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action,” Ian Fleming's Auric Goldfinger observed rather hyperbolically – but, now that a third example of the Obama Administration whitewashing offending comments from its public record has been exposed, one must wonder whether there are even more censorships to be uncovered.
All three incidents involve press events in which comments objectionable to the administration were removed or left out of its public accounts of the events. Two involve unflattering concessions made by Obama Administration spokesmen to Fox News reporters, while the third censors a comment made in the president’s presence by a foreign head of state.
ABC News uncovered the most recent instance of a comment being scrubbed from the administration's public records when it reported on June 3:
In the wake of the admission from the State Department that it intentionally edited and deleted video from an archived press briefing to hide statements it made about the nuclear negotiations with Iran, ABC News has found that the White House has recently omitted a line from a transcript of a May 9 briefing that also involved questions from Fox News about Iran.
Where the State Department deleted eight minutes of video from its website and YouTube page, the White House omitted part of an answer from press secretary Josh Earnest on its official transcript -- without any footnote or reference to why it was omitted.*
The question from Fox News reporter Kevin Corke went like this, according to ABC News' own recording of the briefing:
Corke: Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?”
Earnest: No, Kevin.
However, the words “No, Kevin” never made it into the official White House transcript. Instead it picked up with the rest of Earnest's response, comments about how the White House believes the deal has made America safer.
This censorship comes on the heels of the revelation that the White House deleted an admission to Fox News’ James Rosen in 2013 that it sometimes has to mislead the American people. Here, that specific concession by Spokeswoman Jen Psaki was deleted from the official State Department video of the press event. The administration initially called the omission a “glitch” – but, has now confessed it deliberately edited out the minutes-long exchange between Psaki and Rosen.
Both examples of Obama Administration whitewashing of public records emerged after MRCTV exposed on April 1 that the White House pulled its video of Pres. Obama and French Pres. Francois Hollande – then reposted it omitting Hollande’s declaration that the root of terrorism is “Islamist terrorism” (two words Pres. Obama has refused to utter).
When Byron York and James Rosen, separately, pressed the White Houses on the scrubbing of the two comments made to Fox News, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest was evasive and unresponsive.
And, when Fox News asked the White House about the Hollande censorship in light the Rosen and Corke edits, the administration did not reply.
So, now there are at least three whitewashing instances by the Obama Administration:
- The State Dept. admitting its dishonesty,
- The White House’s refusal to affirm its honesty,
- A foreign leader’s comment about terrorism
Are there more? Only time, and vigilant journalism, will tell.