Photographers covering the White House are sick and tired of being shut out and given handouts….
While the practice of providing news organizations with staged photos of events involving the president goes back decades, veteran shooters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue say it has become almost a regular occurrence with the Bush Administration. A review of Associated Press archives found that during the entire eight years of the Clinton administration, only 100 handout photos of events were released to the press. During the first five years of Bush’s presidency, more than 500 have been distributed.
The key is that each of these events was closed to news photographers.
Walsh and other photo veterans who criticized the practice said it both limits real news coverage of the president and allows the White House to choose only those images it wants people to see.
“Any handout restricts coverage by the press,” said Dennis Brack of Black Star Publications, who has photographed each president since LBJ. “It curtails our access to events we should be covering with an independent eye and it fools the American public into thinking they are news pictures when they are really public relations pictures.”
“If you put five photographers at an event, you will get five different sets of images – the good, the bad and the ugly,” Walsh notes. “One photographer whose images are approved and screened at the highest levels of the White House, you don’t know what images are missing.” She pointed out that, with today’s Photoshop capabilities, images can be doctored any number of ways.
“Would anyone on the word side take a press release and regurgitate it verbatim and publish it in the newspaper as legitimate news,” she asked. “Of course not.”
Well actually……She may want to factor in Republican Talking Points to that last part
But the real point…..Everything is staged for the boy prince isn’t it.