The Staging of a Photo-Op
While not iconic like the Situation Room photograph released by the White House that’s now being memed, images of Barack Obama at the lectern announcing the Osama Bin Laden mission got their fare share of play in newspapers, magazines and Web sites.
But those images are staged. Take it away Jason Reed:
As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent. Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us.
As Poynter notes, this practice isn’t new. It apparently happens all the time and is something to consider as we decide whether what we’re looking at is documentary or agitprop.
Via Poynter’s Al Tompkins:
Other photographers who work at the White House told Poynter.org that since the Reagan era (and possibly before) it has been the standard operating procedure that during a live presidential address, still cameras are not allowed to photograph the actual event…
…But this practice of re-enacting a historic speech flies directly in the face of the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics, which includes this relevant passage: “Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.”
Aside: About that meme? Personal fav. — Michael