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Bush Was Bad, Obama's Worse': Journalists Decry Increased Government Secrecy

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"It's the most difficult climate we've seen.”

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama leaves after speaking about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. Obama's summer fashion choice, not unprecedented among presidents - himself included - was the talk of social media, Thursday. Other presidents who have taken on tan include Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Dwight Eisenhower. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file) AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file

Despite campaign pledges to be transparent, President Barack Obama has been more secretive than President George W. Bush, several leading journalists charged.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

“Bush was bad. Obama's worse,” Associated Press Editor Kathleen Carroll said when speaking at the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors joint convention in Chicago Wednesday, USA Today columnist Rem Rieder reported.

During a panel discussion at the conference, AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee recalled that the AP was told federal government sources would be fired if they provided information to reporters.

“There is a serious problem with access across the federal government," Buzbee said, according to USA Today. She added that secrecy has "worsened significantly in the last few years.”

Specifically, Buzbee talked about fewer opportunities to photograph and video Obama, no embedded journalists in fight against the Islamic State, a blackout of information about the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects and intense focused prosecuting national security leaks.

New York Times reporter James Risen actually faces jail time for refusing to identify a confidential source. He told the convention goers that the news media must do more hard news reporting.

"If there's not pushback,” Risen said, the government will, "keep doing what they are doing."

ASNE legal counsel Kevin Goldberg said there is a "concerted effort” to cut off information that has trickled down from the administration to state and local governments, universities, sports teams and schools.

AP Managing Editor for U.S. News Brian Carovillano, also said the attitude has streached everywhere.

"It's the most difficult climate we've seen,” he said.

(H/T: USA Today)

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