Pres Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office as press photographers take photos pic.twitter.com/dOBDAXQJV1
— petesouza (@petesouza) November 22, 2013
The Obama administration is responding in its usual way to criticism by press organizations for often exclusively using White House photographers.
A tweet Thursday from White House shutter bug Pete Souza showing an image of Obama at his desk surrounded by press photographers seems a little too staged. It’s a practice that’s more disliked by the day. Angry photographers were not amused.
Associated Press editors have been encouraging news outlets to stop using White House photos taken behind doors closed to media, calling them “propaganda.” Other outlets, many of them considered by conservatives to be “lapdog media,” have joined the fight. A letter hand-delivered to White House press secretary Jay Carney and signed by 40 news media outlets said:
“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government.”
The Obama administration explained Thursday that none of its behavior warrants accusations of replacing press photographers with its own freelancers, but it’s done just that. This can only be interpreted as an overt attempt at messaging.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration wouldn’t tolerate other leaders replacing the press, implying that the situation was being misinterpreted and calling the entire dance “a natural dynamic,” The Hill reported.
But The Hill also pointed out,
“the letter listed seven meetings with Obama in 2013 from which photographers were barred because the meetings were private, including a number of meetings between Obama and members of Congress. The White House then released photos of those meetings through social media.”
You can read the letter here:
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