Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Goes to Work (But the Media Can't Watch).

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA went to work on Wednesday, one day after being sworn into office.

Traditionally, the media are allowed into the Oval Office to photograph the president at work on day one. That didn't happen this year.

Instead, the White House offered their own images (including the one above) to the press.

Several media outlets, including three major wire services - Associated Press, Reuters and Agence-France Presse, refused to transmit the images.

"We are not distributing what are, in effect, visual press releases," said Michael Oreskes, managing editor for U.S. news at the AP.

Are the media over-reacting by not using the images? Is there any danger in the White House offering the media images rather than letting the media shoot their own pictures?

Ironically, on Obama's first full day in office, he spoke to his staff about the importance of giving citizens a clear understanding of how government is working for the people.

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones,” Obama said.


Anonymous said...

I think it is a violation of freedom of press. The press should be able to use what they feel best represents their story

Megan Minner said...

I believe that it is the President's decision whether or not he wants to be photographed and who he wants to be photographed by. There is a lot of private business to be done without the distraction of such press companies.

Alyson McGeehin said...

I agree. It should be his decision whether or not the press is there for his first day. He still allowed the day to be photographed either way. He is the president of the United States and if he does not want the press photographing him all day at work, then they should not be allowed to.

Amanda DiStefano said...

A public figure in America is seen as a "celebrity" in 2009. However, the president IS human and has a right to privacy. I think it depends on what is going on while the press there, and who the press is. The rights for press should be there, but circumstantial.

benjamin toledano said...

the White House "offered" their own images. seems like they were trying to do the media outlets a favor by not keeping them in the dark totally. for something this small, yes the media did over react.

Geo said...

Isn't the White House controlling the information by controlling the images of the president?

Aren't they ensuring the public will only see the side of the man they want us to see?

- George (the teacher and skeptic)

summergirl said...

The media is the 4th estate. One of its major roles is to be a power check to the government. If the only way they're getting their info is through what the White House chooses to release, that becomes propaganda. This completely violates Obama's talk of "transparency".

Anonymous said...

We talked about privacy today in class. Why should the president get the privacy he desires but the public doesn't? I don't really understand?

Matt Piccone

Anonymous said...

It's his first day in office and he needs privacy? He's been on the cover of every major publication for months. Screw his "privacy".

John Birk said...

I think that this is a disturbing but continuing trend that is occurring way too frequently. The press is being shut out more often for what equate to PR photos. While Pete Souza (Official White House Photographer) is a PHENOMENAL photographer, his mission is different than that of a wire service. President Obama needs to recognize that there are certain traditions that the White House press corps have and they need to continue.

Angelina Thoman said...

If Dick Cheney can successfully refuse to testify to Congress under the basis of executive privilege, then I would hope that Obama can refuse to have his picture taken on his first day in office. After all, he isn't in Kindergarten walking to the bus stop for the first time. There is a job to be done, and now that he has "sealed the deal", he wants to go ahead and do it, without having to deal with yet another press conference or photoshoot.

True, the White House releasing their own pictures for the press to use can be seen as propaganda; however, it does save time that our new president can spend trying to clear away the disaster left in the wake of the 8-term Bush presidency. There is a lot of work to be done to pull us out of this severe economic crisis, along with the rest of the issues that follow. And honestly, I doubt the pictures that the White House had to offer were incredibly biased (I don't think you had any images of the president looking 8 feet tall, waving a flag around the Oval Office). It's more of a gesture to appease the press and the people, while the president doesn't have to hassled.

Would you invite the press into your home on your first day as, lets say for example, a parent (hypothetically speaking)? I didn't think so.

Sequoia McBall said...

I think the president should decide when and how he wants to be photographed. He is in the spotlight enough as it is being the president. Can the man breathe a little and focus on what needs to be done, making the United States a better place for everyone? Not something of little importance as photographs.

Jasmyne Reaves said...

1. i dont like the idea of the gov deciding what the public will see, although this is frequently done
2. if they wouldnt let the press in for somthing as small as this what will it be next time
3. we as a people have become so used to our rights being trampled upon by the gov im beging to think that many of us are beging to forget our basic rights
4. we have a duty to make sure that our gov is proper controlled, that the people we elected are doing what we elected them to do
5. i dont think it was an over reaction i think that it was a smart reaction by the media. i also think it could have been reacted to more, at a larger degree

Jasmyne Reaves

Daniela Stetser said...

I want to be informed just as much as the next but in this situation I think the pictures sent from the white house will be sufficent. We as a country put Obama in office for the ideas and changes that he has promised to this country. Results are not going to happen overnight and the last eight years have taken its toll. Let him get the ball rolling with as litte distraction as possible.