And I thought graven images of holy figures were prohibited:
New York Times photographer Doug Mills strode into Jay Carney’s office Oct. 29 with a pile of pictures taken exclusively by President Obama’s official photographer at events the White House press corps was forbidden to cover. “This one,” Mills said, sliding one picture after another off his stack and onto the press secretary’s desk. “This one, too – and this one and this one and … .”
The red-faced photographer, joined by colleagues on the White House Correspondents’ Association board, finished his 10-minute presentation with a flourish that made Carney, a former Moscow correspondent for Time, wince.
“You guys,” Mills said, “are just like Tass.”
Chief White House photographer Pete Souza gets exclusive access to Obama, often at the expense of photographers who don’t get paid to make the president look good. The picture on the left is taken by a news photographer while Souza hogs the center frame, where he holds up a camera to take the picture at right. White House photographers have had exclusive access for decades, but before social media their photos were not distributed widely. Many news organizations publish and broadcast the White House photos (often without realizing it), which is akin to distributing a White House press release disguised as a news story.
Media photographers were able to take photos of Obama visiting Nelson Mandela’s former jail cell (see left). They were told his visit with Mandela’s family in the cell would be “private.” And yet photos of Obama and the family, taken by the government-funded White House photographer, were made public and went viral. This passes as “private” in the Obama White House.
Hey, I thought the girls were off limits! What gives? It looks like Obama just grabbed Sasha for the photo-op. Dad, you’re stepping on my foot!
We noted this disturbing hagiographic tendency two years ago. Nice of the media to notice.
Speaking of holy figures:
These two photos illustrate how a president committed to transparency has instead restricted access. At left is President Bush touring the crypt containing the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It was taken by an AP photographer. Obama barred photographers during his visit to the exact same spot, and released the exclusive image at right. It was taken by photographer paid by taxpayers to make flattering photos of the president.
I just threw up in my mouth.