Oh, the acrimony. Close to 40 major new organizations are protesting an increasingly insular White House which exercises control over its brand and image with the finesse of a Madison Avenue PR shop.
“We write to protest the limits on access currently barring photographers who cover the White House. We hope this letter will serve as the first step in removing these restrictions,” says The Associated Press, Fox News and the White House Correspondent Association - among many - in a letter hand-delivered to White House press secretary Jay Carney.
Naturally, Mr. Carney and company rejected the premise, and the journalists covered their own story. The hubbub, in fact, prompted some 200 assorted accounts within a few hours.
The journalists and photographers cite seven major events in 2013 when photography was prohibited and an official image was supplied. The restrictions, they say, mar transparency.
“Imposing limits on press access, as your office has done, represents a troubling precedent with a direct and adverse impact on the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. We consider this a most serious matter,” the group notes in their letter.
Veteran National Journal reporter Ron Fournier, meanwhile, has this observation, directed to the public: “Obama’s image machine: monopolistic propaganda funded by you.”
And the news organizations represented:
American Society of News Editors
American Society of Media Photographer
Associated Press Media Editor
Associated Press Photo Managers
Association of Alternative Newsmedia
Association of Opinion Journalists
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox News Channel
Gannett Co., Inc.
Lee Enterprises, Incorporated
The McClatchy Company
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
National Press Club
National Press Photographers Association
New England First Amendment Coalition
News Media Coalition
Newspaper Association of America
The New York Times Company
Online News Association
Professional Photographers of America
Radio Television Digital News Association
Regional Reporters Association
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of Professional Journalists
The Washington Post
White House Correspondents Association
White House News Photographers Association