Eugene Cerruti


Shortly after World War II, concern mounted over the government's ability and tendency to institutionalize secrecy in government. The initial concern was with the anti-communist sleuthing of various legislative bodies which dramatized the power of secretly held information to control the public agenda of both domestic and foreign policy debate. From this emerged the call for a more "open" government and the political claim that the electorate had a "right to know"' the information acquired and relied upon by government officials. For the press in particular, "access" increasingly became the watchword, the icon, of the new era. The mounting pressure for greater openness led over time to the spate of "sunshine" and freedom of information laws passed in the 1960s and early 1970s.