Associated Press VP and director of photography Santiago Lyon took the Obama White House to task in a New York Times op-ed today for its "draconian restricitions" on access for photjournalists, comparing the release of official White House photos to closed events to the tactics of "repressive governments."
"If you take this practice to its logical conclusion, why have news conferences?" Lyon wrote. "Why give reporters any access to the White House? ...Repressive governments do this all the time."
Lyon called the White House photo policies "manifestly undemocratic," saying the administration has "systematically tried to bypass the media by releasing a sanitized visual record of his activities through official photographs and videos, at the expense of independent journalistic access."
Lyon says the White House has closed media out of activities to which previous administrations routinely granted access, like the president at work in the Oval Office or on his first day of work.
"By no stretch of the imagination are these images journalism," he wrote. "Rather, they propagate an idealized portrayal of events on Pennsylvania Avenue."
Bill Huey (Dec. 12, 2013): Part of Obama's public approval problem--in addition to the very real screw-ups he has allowed to fester--is that Obama doesn't much like the press and is surrounded by people who encourage him in that.
If he wants to rescue his reputation, he's simply got to bite the same bullet faced by every other president and open up to the media.
He may be the chief executive, but he's not a CEO, and he can't wall himself off from the press the way many CEOs do.