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

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:35

What others say: California bill would ban tackle football until high school

Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, have introduced legislation that would ban organized tackle football in California until high school.... Read more

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:34

Op-ed: Guns and Russians

Mark the date on your calendar: March 24. It’s a Saturday. It’ll be a test for the up-and-coming generation. For that matter, it will be... Read more

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:34

Voices of Alaska: UA investing in innovation, incubators, entrepreneurial programs

For many years, universities have competed for talented students by promoting academic programs, affordability, athletic teams, and campus life. Those elements remain a part of... Read more

Op-ed: Warning signs ignored again

Reaction to the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and many more wounded begins at the wrong end. It’s not... Read more