Tags: ap | obama | staged | photos

AP Editors: Obama Relies on Staged 'Propaganda' Photos

Image: AP Editors: Obama Relies on Staged 'Propaganda' Photos In this handout photo provided by the White House, President Barack Obama speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani from the Oval Office on Sept. 27.

Friday, 01 Nov 2013 03:59 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama prefers official, press release-style photos of himself to be circulated for news stories, which an Associated Press official says amounts to little more than "propaganda" shots of the nation's leader.

AP photographers have been permitted to take photographs of Obama in the Oval Office only twice since he became president in 2008, reports The Daily Caller, both times during his first term.

White House photographers have taken all other photographs of Obama in the Oval Office and distributed them to the press, instead of press photographers being permitted to capture his image, said Santiago Lyon, AP's vice president and director of photography.

Lyon's comments came earlier this week during the Associated Press Media Editors' national conference in Indianapolis.

Lyon said some previous administrations relied heavily on official photos, but they allowed more access to the president, said Jack Lail, digital director of the Knoxville News Sentinel, who attended the event.

The White House often distributes its own presidential images, such as the "situation room" photo that was taken during the Osama bin Laden raid, reports The Blaze, but other photos have come from his everyday activities, such as signing legislation at his desk.

Social media and the White House website make it easier for the White House to release the images directly to the public and to news organizations, which end up using them.

"This works because newspapers use these handout photos," AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said during the Indianapolis conference. She went on to urge newspaper editors not to use the White House official photos.

The Associated Press also criticized the Obama White House for using staged photographs in an article earlier this year which said the Obama "image machine" serves up content that shows the president as "commanding" and "compassionate."

The official photos paint a life at the White House as a place where "Obama's family is always photogenic, first dog Bo is always well-behaved, and the vegetables in the South Lawn kitchen garden always seem succulent," the article said.

The article also said that Mike McCurry, who was ex-President Bill Clinton's press secretary, noted that Obama exercises a level of control over the media that goes further than other presidents enforced, reports The Daily Caller.

"What gets lost are those revealing moments when the president’s held accountable by the representatives of the public who are there in the form of the media," said McCurry.

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