White House should loosen constraints on photographers

When 38 major independent news organizations find it necessary to protest a White House policy in unison, the president has a problem. And so it is for the Obama administration.

 

With increasing frequency, the White House is shutting out independent news photographers from recording key presidential events. While the press is excluded, White House photographers roam the meetings, distributing images on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s no surprise the government shots are flattering. And there is no certainty the pictures are accurate depictions of the mood of meetings.

For that reason, the president and his administration must put an end to excessive reliance on closed meetings. National security matters may legitimately dictate privacy, but many other gatherings recently closed were public business and should have been available to independent press photographers.

Obama entered office promising new transparency. This shift to more closed-door activities does not comport with that promise and threatens to create an Obama legacy of increasing isolation. A president taking a dive in public polling does himself, and the nation, no favors by stonewalling the press on such basic matters as photographer access.

The protest letter signed by The White House Correspondents’ Association, the Associated Press, CNN, Fox, McClatchy (owner of The Star) and many other leading journalism groups arrived before Thanksgiving. It’s past time for the administration to open up and renew its commitment to public accountability.

There is a place for paid White House photographers. But independent photographers work to record history from all angles, not just those favored by the White House.

— Kansas City Star,

Dec. 2

More

Op-ed: Reince for president

It’s been a rough week for the White House, so reportedly — yet again — Reince Priebus might get fired.

Read more

What others say: Popularity takes a toll on wilderness areas

Oregonians are rightfully proud of the stunning scenic beauty of their state and are accustomed to striking out to experience it whenever they wish, backpacking... Read more

Op-ed: The state is not God

Anyone looking for another reason not to leave life-and-death issues to the state need look no further than the conflict between the British government and... Read more

Op-ed: Witch hunt witchcraft

The Democrats need to be careful. Already they’re overreacting to the disclosures that Don Trump Jr. and other Trumpsters met with a Kremlin insider seeking... Read more