Photographic Proof of Obama's Lack of Transparency

That’s an official, Obama-administration-approved picture, one
of an endless stream of photos released via the official White
House feed. Increasingly, sanctioned photos of Obama are all the
public is seeing because the guy who pledged the most transparent
administration ever is maintaining unprecedented control over
independent snapshots of his activities.

Andrew Malcolm, a former press flack for First Lady Laura Bush
now writing for Investor’s Business Daily, notes that Obama even
banned photographers accompanying him on his flight to South Africa
for Nelson Mandela’s funeral from taking pictures of the president
with George W. Bush (widely circulated photos of the pair onboard
Air Force One were offical photos). Yet, says
, social media sites allow for a steady drip, drip, drip
of supposedly behind-the-scenes images that promise access but
really only “allow Obama to claim a kind of public
transparency, giving individuals sanitized access to hidden moments
with what are, in effect, mere photo news releases.”

Malcolm is following up on a complaint voiced by the AP’s
director of photography, Santiago Lyon, who argued in the New
York Times,

The official photographs the White House hands out are but
visual news releases. Taken by government employees (mostly former
photojournalists), they are well composed, compelling and even
intimate glimpses of presidential life. They also show the
president in the best possible light, as you’d expect from an
administration highly conscious of the power of the image at a time
of instant sharing of photos and videos.

By no stretch of the imagination are these images journalism.
Rather, they propagate an idealized portrayal of events on
Pennsylvania Avenue.

More here.

One can argue whether such actions constitute “Orwellian image
control,” as Lyon believes, but there’s no question that Team
Obama’s maniac attempts to keep control of the narrative is
And generally ineffective, if recent polls are any indication.

Indeed, energy spent trying to keep tabs on who has access to take
pictures of or write about the president drains resources away from
actually addressing problems and policy screwups. Insularity tends
to create defensiveness, which makes it all the more difficult to
deal with, say, disastrous rollouts of

Speaking of transparency, take 50 seconds to watch this 2010
Reason TV gem about the “Real World: DC,” which covers what happens
when when Congress stops being polite…and starts secret, detailed
negotiations on a sweeping, transformative health care reform

from Hit & Run

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