With an election on the way and Congressional probes of the administration’s inner workings heating up, the White House has made its website more difficult to search, eliminating features that formerly allowed users to easily hone in on the target of their inquiry.
The newly user-unfriendly White House search function is doubtless an attempt to make conducting research on the site more arduous. Obama’s young, tech-savvy aides are unlikely to have accidentally made a routine but important website feature worse. To the contrary, it took effort and technological know-how to downgrade the search function.
The previous version of White House search allowed visitors to narrow their focus in more than three dozen different ways, including by various types of posts like “pages” or “videos;” issue tags such as “economy,” “foreign policy,” “health care,” or “defense;” and offices within the White House.
The new White House search offers a total of four ways to narrow the search: “Blog posts,” essentially White House propaganda hyping various events and presidential activities; “Press articles,” which appears to include official White House press releases; “videos;” and “photo galleries.”
The old search also allowed filtering of results in typical search function ways, by “relevancy” “title,” “type,” and “author.” And one could also limit the search to Obama’s speeches, the press briefings, or various types of presidential statements and memoranda.
These options are no longer available.
Searchers could formerly choose to get results from the latest entry to the earliest or from the earliest to the most recent, and could narrow the search all the way to the month or date of the post.
Now, searchers can only choose to call up “everything” or limit their search to the past day, week, month or year.
Which is really not what one might have expected from the “openness administration.”