Increasingly, all the Obama White House has in its tool box to limit the damage of fiascos past, present and future is its ability to manipulate the President’s public image. For five years an infuriatingly uncritical and submissive press allowed this administration to avoid the consequences of mistakes, problems and misconduct that would have dominated front pages for months in past years, but some vague signs of backbone have been visible of late, so the White House is cracking down.
From the journalism website of the Poynter Institute:
“A coalition of news organizations, including the Associated Press, ABC News, The Washington Post and Reuters called for better access to the president and the White House today in a letter addressed to White House press secretary Jay Carney.
The letter says, in part:
“Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties. 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 National Press Photographers Association also put its name to the protest. “Media organizations including NPPA have been keeping track of all the times on the president’s schedule when something has been marked ‘private,’ or when there’s been a news lid issued by the Press Office, only to find a White House photograph from the event show up a short time later on its official Web site,” NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher said. “We have never been granted access to the President at work in the Oval Office accompanied by his staff,” AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said. “Previous administration regularly granted such access.”