Press organizations protest White House media access
November 21st, 2013
04:06 PM ET
9 months ago

Press organizations protest White House media access

Washington (CNN) - Dozens of mainstream media outlets wrote a letter to the White House Press Secretary Thursday alleging his office has been barring photographers from events where President Barack Obama is present and swapping in their own photographs as a substitute.

The letter to Jay Carney from the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) decried the “routine” denial of photographers and videographers from occasions when the President 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 letter read. CNN was among the 38 outlets signing the note.

The journalists’ letter claimed the White House was using its own photographers to document the President’s activities rather than independent journalists, a situation the WHCA said amounted to releasing “visual press releases.”

Pete Souza, the chief official White House photographer, and a team of deputies frequently photograph the president in meetings and situations where the press is not permitted; those images are then released online on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.

In their letter, the journalists list incidents dating back to July where independent press coverage was denied, but an official White House photograph was released.

“While certain of these events may appear ‘private’ in nature, the decision of the White House to release its own contemporaneous photograph(s) suggests that the White House believes these events are, in fact, newsworthy and not private,” the letter states.

In Thursday’s press briefing, Carney’s deputy Josh Earnest said the White House takes seriously the work of independent journalists covering the President.

“We don’t view the government camera, if you will, as a substitute for the lens that’s wielded by a professional independent journalist,” Earnest said.


Filed under: Jay Carney • President Obama • White House
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Get over it. Cry me a river, would ya?

    November 21, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. don in albuquerque

    Poor babies.

    November 21, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "professional independent journalist"

    Key words. Now, find one. Oops, they're extinct.

    November 21, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    CNN should be proud of the fact they have helped Obama to seize more power in America, than any president in U.S. history, since Lincoln.

    They have done that by hiding truth, by concealing facts, and by promoting the Democratic Party, in opposition to the voters of half of America.

    Pat yourself on the back, CNN for helping and abetting a dictator, in his efforts to take total control of America.

    November 21, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. just saying

    total control of everything people. can't just have anybody photographing dear leader.

    November 21, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Keep them out for all their reporting is worth, which is nada
    If they were LEGITIMATE news agencies with journalists that possesed journalistic integrity versus printing 'he said, she said" tablid-like crap without emphasizing the truth we would not be having these discussions.
    I don't want nor need the photographers that represent these tabloid-like news sources taking pictures of our President.
    I like Pete Souzas' pictures and at least he's NOT trying to create nontroversies.

    November 21, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. The REAL Truth...

    @Rick McDaniel – in opposition to the voters of half of America.
    ---------------------------–
    Pat yourself on the back Ricky.. you get an A in Republican math.. it was only 48%.. the MAJORITY (52%) voted FOR him.
    And if I were he.. and the media was photoshopping in other images of my face/persona over what was actually taken on the day, I'd ban them, or make them sign a "use the picture taken at the event" agreement... but that would be considered a liberal event.. much like asking them to add a disclaimer to any picture that is not an original. Bwahahaha... the whining from the right about everything this POTUS does is tiresome beyond belief.

    November 21, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Donna

    Thanks to Obama and the Senate Democrats this country is looking more and more like North Korea every day.

    November 21, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    Using pictures from a "lens that’s wielded by a professional independent journalist” is one thing.. being allowed at a Presidential event then using a different picture from a different event.. that is NOT professional journalism. ergo: fail.

    November 21, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    Thank to Boehner and the House Republicants this country is looking more and more like North Korea every day.

    November 21, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @just saying "total control of everything people. "

    Unlike the Freedom Fighters on the Radical Right that are looking to tell people who to marry, what is the proper state-religion for all, what a women may do with her body, what subjects in school are dangerous knowledge, who are the right people to immigrate etc.......

    November 21, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    This is strange. Obama had no trouble with the press and photographers when they were very willing and cooperative water boys for him. Now that they have actually started acting like reporters he hates them. This guy just seems to be getting more and more detached and insulated with every day. Is it any wonder he has no clue about what is happening in his own administration and has to read about it in the newspapers? Scary.

    November 21, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    I think my favorite part is where these MSM imbeciles pretend they care about what the POTUS is doing. You're not fooling anyone, guys. What you care about is what you can make it LOOK like the POTUS is doing.

    November 21, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. just saying

    Sniffit
    I think my favorite part is where these MSM imbeciles pretend they care about what the POTUS is doing. You're not fooling anyone, guys. What you care about is what you can make it LOOK like the POTUS is doing.
    ---

    wow.... sniffy engaging in outright full fledged tin foil hat conspiracy nuttiness. you know things aren't going well for the liar in chief when that happens!

    November 21, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    @Donna–Why not go to North Korea and let us know how well you fare.

    November 21, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. don in albuquerque

    @just saying-I wouldn't push the tin foil hat thing if I were you.

    November 21, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |