Beyoncé truthers have been working hard to discover what really happened on that fateful Inauguration Day: The Marine Corps said she was lip syncing, only to backtrack about the national anthem backing track, before Beyoncé admitted her transgression in fabulous fashion, but apparently that still wasn't enough. So far, the feds haven't bothered to hand over any sort of followup information. Of another intervening scandal of (overrated) note, President Obama recently joked, "I've got 99 problems and now Jay-Z is one." Well, count Beyoncé as another.
Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act request looking for emails sent from January 22-23 that had anything to do with Beyoncé's performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Today, they published their findings. They got 172 pages of absolutely nothing back. Federal lawyers saw fit to hand over the emails with Beyoncé's name scrubbed from every last one. We'll let the folks at Bloomberg explain what getting "(B)(6)'d" is:
The exemption “prohibits disclosure of personal information when an individual’s privacy interest outweighs any public interest,” we were told in the letter.
The Department of Justice official FOIA Guide says (B)(6) is designed to safeguard information about individuals “in personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
In every document handed over to Bloomberg, even statements previously released to the press, Beyoncé's name was wiped from the record. And there's nothing much new beyond that.
Bloomberg's attempt to FOIA the inauguration performance emails was met for the most part with despair and mockery — despair because the relevant information wasn't turned over, and mockery because, really, this is all a little silly. "I don't think you're ready for the (B)6)," tweeted the Washington Post's J. Freedom du Lac. "Beyonce, Drudge, FOIA, Marines, Inauguration, Privacy Exemption, my head hurts," added the Washingtonian's Sophie Gilbert. Columbia journalism school student Elizabeth Murray was glad someone someone finally asked the hard questions: "Well, it's about damn time someone FOIA'd the Beyonce inauguration lip synching scandal." But she also had some outstanding queries of her own: "Did the FOIA reveal any information about Beyonce's real hair color?" Let's get started on that paper work right away, shall we?
What Murray may not know is this isn't the first time truth-seekers have tried using FOIA requests to get to the bottom of lip sync-gate. MuckRack tried to track down the backing track Beyoncé used that fateful afternoon, but to no avail. The Marine Corps told them they couldn't give them the tape of Beyoncé's voice because they don't own it; Beyoncé does.
So that's two FOIA requests down — one for the track itself and one for the misinformation swirling that day — and Beyoncé stands tall. Bow down.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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