President Obama, who prefers to circulate press release-style pictures taken by his own paid photographers.
These official photographs are little more than propaganda, according to AP director of photography Santiago Lyon.
The AP has only been permitted to photograph the president alone in the Oval Office on two occasions–both in his first term–and has never been allowed to photograph the president with his staff in the office. The AP generally receives access when foreign leaders are visiting, but at other times the White House relies on its own photographers to take pictures and distribute them to the press.
AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll echoed Lyon’s concerns.
“This works because newspapers use these handout photos,” she said at the conference, according to attendee Jack Lail, digital editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Carroll advised newspaper editors who were present to stop using the White House’s preferred photos in their own stories, according to Lail and other attendees.
The history of White House photography suggests barring photographers in this way may even limit Obama’s propaganda power. Photojournalists snapped many of the best-remembered Oval Office photos, including the picture of a backlit President John F. Kennedy with his head bowed, which was shot by New York Times photographer George Tames. That photo, dubbed “The Loneliest Job In the World,” went on to become an icon of the Cuban Missile Crisis, although it was snapped several months before the crisis and simply showed the president reading a newspaper while standing, to relieve his back pain. During the actual missile crisis, JFK reportedly left the Oval Office to join fabled stripper Blaze Starr in the Lincoln Bedroom for what Starr called a “very short” encounter.
I think Obama will make history with the most amount of his released propaganda photos being photoshopped