Wednesday, August 27, 2008

FOIA Fables

The Freedom of Information Act is a great reporting tool, essential to exemplary projects like the investigation into Veterans Administration health care by my McClatchy colleague Chris Adams,
And, really, I am no longer bitter that Chris's enterprising work beat me out for the National Press Club's Washington Correspondence Award this year. I am perfectly happy with my little Honorable Mention certificate. Perfectly happy, I tell you.
&$%)! FOIA.
But there are also persistent FOIA misconceptions we should dispel. One of the biggest has to do with what James Madison meant when he warned that
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both.

So let's find out, shall we, what Madison really meant with this most famous of FOIA-friendly quotes. Prepare to be shocked!

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