Obama photos taxpayer-funded propaganda
Nearly five years after President Obama promised that transparency would be one of the touchstones of this presidency, the track record of the commander in chief is dismal.
Upon taking the White House on a campaign powered by the use of social media, the Obama transition team promised those same cutting-edge technologies would be used to create “a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens.”
Indeed, social media has continued to be a powerful tool of the Obama team. But when viewing photos on Twitter and other sites, citizens might assume they’re looking at the documentation of a presidency by unbiased journalists — not the carefully chosen handiwork of a photographer working for the president.
Photojournalists from the White House Correspondents Association recently gave White House press secretary Jay Carney an earful on this subject. “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,” a letter presented by the group said.
White House photographers have long had access that the mainstream media doesn’t. But the Obama administration has repeatedly closed off events to journalists while allowing White House photographers complete access. On an almost daily basis, photos and videos taken by the White House image team are sent out via social media — sometimes from important news events. A review by Politico in 2012 found that of the more than 4,000 official photos of Obama released by the White House, about a third depicted events closed to mainstream media.
When a country’s leadership restricts the access of independent journalists and floods the public with state-run media, we call that propaganda.
The White House doesn’t seem to get it. The Obama administration points to all those images on social media and calls that a transparent view into the presidency. But the images aren’t journalism. They are hand-picked photos and videos that put the president in the best possible light and convey whatever narrative the image-conscious administration is seeking to portray at the moment.
If the Obama administration isn’t swayed to change its ways by the White House Correspondents Association, local newspaper editorials aren’t going to do much good. But we can help inform the public that the images the White House releases via social media are not depictions captured by journalists documenting events but the photo equivalent of a White House press release.
-(Dubuque) Telegraph Herald