POLITICAL: Why do we even have a Department of Labor?

DOL forcing media to use government computers | Campaign 2012 | Washington Examiner


April 13, 2012 4:39pm
DOL forcing media to use government computers
by Mark Tapscott Executive EditorShare

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Unrest is simmering in some quarters of the Washington news universe regarding changes in the way the Department of Labor (DOL) manages its pre-release media “lockups” on sensitive data like weekly jobless benefits and unemployment.

For years, journalists participating in the lockups have shown up at DOL at the appointed time, then entered a limited-access area to receive the new data and prepare news stories for release as soon as official embargoes end.

The system insures that major news organizations get the data as soon as possible and allows journalists covering the release get a jump on providing analyses and opinion about the data.

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Fillichio reminded participants that there are only 20-30 seats available for the lockups and that priority will be given by DOL in selecting participants to those that “are primarily journalistic enterprises.”

He also offered a one-sentence assurance that “the department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.”

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In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including “a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.”
The changes evidently are in response at least in part to worries that some of the non-traditional news organizations allowed in recent years to participate in the lockups may not be using their access simply for journalistic purposes.

Since the stock market can rise or fall by hundreds of points as a result of such a data release, making sure nobody gets an advance peek at the data is critical to insuring the integrity of the process.

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Does anyone see the problems in this story?

(1) DOL won’t pick based on “political viewpoints”? TO even say that IMMEDIATELY raises a red flag an tells me that is EXACTLY what they are going to do.

(2) What’s a “primarily a journalistic enterprise”? So, as a blogger, I’m shut out. Sorry, excuse me. Put the DIKW (i.e., data, information, knowledge, wisdom) and release it to the Universe at the same time. The Press should get it at the same time as everyone else. Otherwise they are the “house organ”.

(3) Why am I the taxpayer paying for computers to benefit some segment of the business community? Are the costs of each seat in the “lockup” being paid by the organization renting them?

This whole concept STINKS!

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