Obama White House Photos Are Pure 'Propaganda'

AP photo chief criticizes restrictive policy on news photographers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2013 4:34 PM CST
Obama White House Photos Are Pure 'Propaganda'
An image released by the White House of President Obama with daughters Malia and Sasha last year.   (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

It's true that the Obama White House releases boatloads of photos of the president at work and play, but the director of photography at AP has a not-so-flattering description of the end result: "propaganda." In a New York Times op-ed railing against the Obama administration's "manifestly undemocratic" and "draconian" restrictions on news photographers, Santiago Lyon argues that the images released by the White House amount to nothing more than "visual press releases."

They're skillfully made, sure, but they "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." Don't confuse them with journalism, writes Lyon. The AP rejects most of the handout photos provided by the White House, and Lyon suggests that "information-savvy citizens" start doing the same. They do nothing but "propagate an idealized portrayal of events on Pennsylvania Avenue." Click for his full column. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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