Who Lip-Synced During Obama’s Inauguration? Sorry, Her Name Isn’t Subject to FOI.

by Categorized: Media, Politics, Transparency/FOI Date:

More than 20 million people watched President Obama’s inauguration in January, which included a spirited performance by singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter belting out – or at least pretending to belt out – the Star Spangled Banner.

Beyonce promptly fessed up to lip-syncing the national anthem – Beyoncesaying she hadn’t had a chance to rehearse with the Marine Corps Band and didn’t want to risk ruining Obama’s big day. So in the aftermath, the curious souls over at Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for emails related to “sync-gate,” hoping to get some juicy exchanges among the Marines, the White House and Beyonce’s people.

They got 172 pages – with one particular name excised at every turn; identifying the Artist Universally Known To Be Beyonce, the Marines apparently concluded, would violate her privacy.

Instead, Bloomberg correspondent Tony Capaccio writes, Beyonce’s name is replaced on page after page with the designation “(B)(6)” – the section of the federal Freedom of Information Act that exempts information that would constitute “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

So a Marine Corps statement publicly issued in January that read “We don’t know why Beyonce decided to use prerecorded music,” appeared in the released emails as “We don’t know why ‘(B)(6)’ decided to use prerecorded music.”

The records released did not include any exciting exchanges with the White House, but one email shed some light on the thinking inside the Marines’ FOI operation. Given the quick acknowledgement by the Marines that Beyonce was not singing live, one Marine official (who’s name also was redacted) wrote that releasing the emails should not present a problem for the corps, since the records did not contradict their earlier public statements.

“Funny how the truth works, isn’t it?” the official wrote.

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