News & Views » Columns

Mushroom nation



The battle over records of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy powwows has grabbed the largest headlines, but it’s only one in a series of depressing skirmishes where the Bush administration is strangling the public’s right to learn exactly what our government is up to (or, more accurately, down to). Examples are cataloged on the Web by the advocacy group OMB (as in Office of Management and Budget) Watch, which says:

“The American public’s right to know about how its government works and what it does is under assault. … Without public debate, we are rapidly shifting from a society based on the public’s right to know to one in which information is made available on a need to know basis, where government sits in judgment.”

Among the other fronts, OMB Watch cites the post-Sept. 11 removal of “thousands of documents and tremendous amounts of data” from government Web sites, secret deportation hearings, instructions to government agencies to withhold information whenever possible, growing delays in responding to Freedom of Information requests and limiting access to presidential records.

Sean Moulton, a senior policy analyst for the Washington-based group, tells News Hits that in addition to reaching out to the public, they are also contacting an array of groups — from librarians to environmentalists — to both form a coalition and develop a strategy to combat the trend. “I would say before the end of the year we’ll figure out what our approach is going to be,” says Moulton. He admits that it’s “not an easy issue to get people to think about.” Of course, it all depends on what you know.

See “A Call to Action Against Secrecy” at

Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.