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March 15, 2012 5:31 PM Cal State: Transparent or Very Obscure?

By Daniel Luzer

TweetLie

The California State University system apparently claimed, on Twitter, to have received the 2012 Sunshine Award, for having one of “the most transparent government websites in the nation.” (See image, right.) This wasn’t actually true. It wasn’t even close to true.

According to a piece by John Hrabe at CalWatchdog:

“CSU wins 2012 Sunshine Award for most transparent government website ow.ly/9BuP6,” @Cal State, the official Twitter page for the CSU Public Affairs Office, tweeted on March 12. However, as of 1:30 pm on March 13, the ow.ly/9BuP6 link no longer worked, even though that exact link remains up on Cal State’s Twitter account.
“Sunshine Review, the national nonprofit organization that sponsors the annual awards, confirmed to CalWatchDog.com that it would be impossible for the state’s public college system to win a Sunshine Award.
“We do not grade state universities or colleges at this time, so it would be impossible for Cal State to have won an award,” said Diana Lopez, senior editor of the Sunshine Review. “And you are correct, they are not on our list of winners here.

This sort of thing sounds like it was merely a staff mistake, rather than some deliberate effort to deceive the public. Apparently Sunshine Review gave ten states an “’A’ grade for their state government website. California was one of those states. It’s possible some sloppy staffer just saw Cal State Sunshine Award and quickly sent off a tweet. But it’s unclear how this happened.

That’s because, rather than being all, you know, transparent about it and admitting the mistake and explaining what happened, Cal State just removed the post. Awesome.

Cal State’s motto, incidentally, is “speak the truth as a way of life.”

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer