Thursday, November 28, 2013

News media outlets protest White House press access limits; a legitimate complaint, but they're hypocrites

From the AP:
Dozens of leading news organizations are protesting to the White House against restrictions that sometimes keep journalists from taking pictures and video of President Barack Obama performing official duties. At the same time, two press groups urged their members to stop using official photos and video handed out by the White House, dismissing them as little more than “government propaganda.”

The news organizations’ letter to White House press secretary Jay Carney detailed a number of recent examples in which photographers weren’t allowed to cover presidential events that were deemed “private” by administration officials — even though the White House indicated their newsworthiness by releasing its own photos of the same events.

“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government,” the letter states, adding that the restrictions imposed by the Obama White House represent a major break from the practices of past administrations.

The news organizations said Thursday that the White House limits on access raise constitutional concerns about infringement on First Amendment press freedoms and have “a direct and adverse impact on the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing.”

The press coalition, which included The Associated Press, major broadcast and cable networks, wire services, online services and newspapers, said the access limits also undercut Obama’s pledge to create a more transparent government, and impose “an arbitrary restraint and unwarranted interference on legitimate newsgathering activities.”

The groups requested an immediate meeting with Carney on how to restore full press access.

Simultaneously, the presidents of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors sent a letter to their members urging them to stop using handout photos and video from the White House.

“We must accept that we, the press, have been enablers,” the ASNE-APME letter states. “We urge those of you in news organizations to immediately refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them.”...
I take exception with that last paragraph.

The mainstream media organizations are Obama "enablers", not because they're using handout photos and videos from the White House, but rather because their ultimate goal, desire and purpose is to prop up Obama.

The news media organizations say they're asking their members to "refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them.” Heh... The fact of the matter is, news media reports often resemble White House press releases.

Moreover, a great deal of the information in the news media comes via anonymous White House officials; and sadly, a lot of Americans are often unaware that the information they're consuming is being fed to them via these Obama operatives and White House propagandists.

Truth be told, the mainstream news media outlets are unhappy, not because they've become Obama enablers - which is their ultimate goal, desire and purpose - but because they're being locked out of the process and because they're being treated like second class citizens - like a bunch of nobodies.

However, in fairness to the President, it should be noted that, in restricting press access to the White House, Obama is merely exercising his autocratic and dictatorial authority. There's nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that it is unwise for an autocratic ruler to lock out his enablers, lest they suddenly accuse him of forcing them to be his enablers.....
In addition to the AP, those signing the coalition letter to [White House Press Secretary Jay Carney] were ABC News, Agence France-Presse, American Society of News Editors, American Society of Media Photographers, Associated Press Media Editors, Associated Press Photo Managers, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Association of Opinion Journalists, Bloomberg News, CBS News, CNN, Dow Jones & Co. Inc., Fox News Channel, Gannett Co. Inc., Getty Images, Lee Enterprises Inc., The McClatchy Co., McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, National Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, NBC News, New England First Amendment Coalition, News Media Coalition, Newspaper Association of America, The New York Times Co., Online News Association, Professional Photographers of America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Regional Reporters Association, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reuters, Society of Professional Journalists, Tribune Co., The Washington Post, White House Correspondents’ Association, White House News Photographers Association, Yahoo Inc.

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