The media editors of the Associated Press got together for a national conference on Wednesday and one of the angriest items on their agenda was their displeasure that they’re not allowed to snap pictures of President Obama in the Oval Office.
Santiago Lyon, the AP’s director of photography, says he’s tired of getting handout photographs from Obama’s own paid lensmen, criticizing those shots as nothing more than propaganda pictures. AP executive editor took Lyon’s concerns to another level, urging the newspaper editors who were in attendance to stop running the White House’s photos with their stories about Obama. “This works because newspapers use these handout photos,” she complained.
The AP has only been allowed to snap Obama in the Oval Office twice, and both occasions were during his first term. Critics of the White House policy say that limiting photographers’ access undermines Obama’s assertion that he’d have “the most transparent administration in history,” but it also doesn’t give them the chance to capture some of the unstaged — but iconic —images that have been taken of other presidents.