Posted By Robby Soave On 9:01 AM 11/22/2013 In |
President Obama’s refusal to allow journalists to photograph him at key events has now drawn the ire of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which joined other media outlets in sending a letter of protest to the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney.
The letter accuses the White House of restricting photojournalists’ access to the president to a degree far greater than any previous administration.
“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,” wrote the WHCA.
The letter notes that the White House’s typical excuse — that certain events are “private” — does not hold water, since it often allows a government-employed photographer to take the pictures instead.
“That rationale…is undermined when the White House contemporaneously releases its own photograph of a so-called private event through social media,” wrote the WHCA. “The restrictions imposed by the White House on photographers covering these events, followed by the routine release by the White House of photographs made by government employees of these same events, is an arbitrary restraint and unwarranted interference on legitimate newsgathering activities. You are, in effect, replacing independent photojournalism with visual press releases.”
The letter follows weeks of increased scrutiny toward Obama’s autocratic photo policy. Associated Press editors recently revealed that the president rarely allows media outlets to take his picture when he is alone in the Oval Office, and never with his staff. While visits with foreign diplomats are typically open to the AP, the president uses a paid White House photographer at other key events and distributes the staged images to the press. (RELATED: AP editors: Obama relies on staged propaganda photos)