Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

Dear Secretary Chertoff,

You’ve created a blog. Good for you. Nice job making a move to enter the conversation.

But I don’t think you are the one writing the blog.

If I were you, I would heed the advice of National Journal’s Danny Glover:

Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine think it’s a bad idea for politicians to try to adopt in the blogosphere the same “false voice” they have employed in ghost-written columns and press releases for generations.

I agree. This is a new media era, Washington. Your readers expect you to behave differently than you do in old media, and you only irritate us when you send your flacks into the blogosphere on your behalf.

Bottom line — it sounds like your public affairs shop is writing your posts. Don’t claim you are writing them if you are not. I’d love for you to prove me wrong and say that you are indeed writing the posts.

But I doubt it.

I think having your press folks write the blog in your name is why I think your blog doesn’t work — and why the State Department’s DipNote does.


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You might have heard about the junior Senator from Montana, John Tester, who has opened up his schedule to his constituents on his Web site.

Tester (who I was impressed with during the campaign and continues to impress) signed on to the Punch Clock Campaign, an effort of the Sunlight Network, to make the process of government more open and transparent.

The position of the Sunlight Network (rightly so) is that while openness has always been an imperative in a democracy, the Internet makes openness easier to achieve. They called on candidates to post their daily schedules online (at the end of the day, for security reasons) so that the public knew what their members of congress were doing, who they were meeting with, and who was influencing the political process.

The foundation also has an interesting blog.

While the Sunlight Network has focused on the legislative branch, I think this would be an interesting concept to apply to the senior leaders at the Department of Defense — to every day be able to see what the senior secretaries and service chiefs are doing, where they are devoting their resources, etc.

As long as standards were set to ensure that sensitive information was not published, this could be a major advancement in the open government movement.

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