Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 23, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE GENTLE ART OF REDACTION....Want to see a hilarious example of how government agencies redact "sensitive" material from information they release to the press? Check out this graphic from the News & Observer in North Carolina. The NC Department of Labor recently released some files to the News & Observer, and included in the files was a copy of a News & Observer story from 2003. Guess what? Even though it was a published story, and even though they were releasing it to the newspaper that had published it in the first place, they redacted it in 70 separate places. Among the redacted phrases were "six men," "tomato pickers," and "the workers."

A spokesman laconically suggested that the department "will probably review its policies on what information is private." Good idea.

Via Brendan Nyhan.

Kevin Drum 1:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Comments

Hey, the gov't is making MadLibs. Great!

Posted by: Larry on March 23, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

What's even more ironic is this is the paper that printed a letter to the editor I wrote several years ago; citing the ballooning pay of CEO relative to the average worker.

They re-wrote much of the key information I cited, as well as much of the language, taking out all the punch, not to mention twisting the facts, making me look like a simpleton in the process.

Thanks N&O... Go on with your redacting redacted selves...

This is a funny article though.

Posted by: heh on March 23, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Too many employees at the NC Dept. of Labor, with too much time on their hands?

Posted by: Peter on March 23, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

People get paid to do this??

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on March 23, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

It is vital that this information was redacted. The terrorists are watching our every move, and the administration of our Commander in Chief must have full authority to determine what is secret and what isn't, even if it has been previously "published."

Ideally, the publishers of this information will be jailed and tortured.

Posted by: Al on March 23, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ideally, the publishers of this information will be jailed and tortured.

Or made to pick tomatoes.

Posted by: craigie on March 23, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

▬ think this is ▬ natural and ▬ the government wants to ▬fine with ▬.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on March 23, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Or [redacted].

Posted by: Pyrrho on March 23, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Big Brother is watching.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 23, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, the jokes about the South just write themselves don't they?

Posted by: Tripp on March 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

While this was done under North Carolina law, its worth noting that FOIA turns 40 this year.

FOIA at Forty: The Pasts Lessons For The Future.

For those interested scroll down for links and resources.

Posted by: Catch22 on March 23, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is quite clear what direction transparency is headed in this country. As more and more of the government's actions are hidden from public view, the public's actions are more and more on display.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on March 23, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

If North Carolina was run by private industry they would have fired the journalist-hating ennui-torn government workers and replaced them with a sun don't shine rule.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 23, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Do guess, of course, that this was no practical joke, the people involved were hiding the information from more likely, other taxpayers' employees who would have followed up a metropolitan news story. Come on.

Posted by: Every church or synagogue should know the Book of Job Chapter 11. on March 24, 2006 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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