Poynter reports that USA Today won’t take the Obama White House’s official photos anymore.
In a memo to staff Sunday, USA Today Deputy Director of Multimedia Andrew P. Scott said the news organization will not use “handout photos originating from the White House Press Office, except in very extraordinary circumstances.” Such circumstances would have to involve “legitimate national security restrictions” as well as “very high news value,” Scott writes. The policy “simply codifies our existing practices on how we treat WH images,” Scott tells Poynter in an email.
The White House’s growing habit of shutting bona fide media out of events, only to release official photos later, has been building for months. Last week, the White House Correspondents Association joined the protest against the practice, which shields many of the president’s meetings and events from any real press coverage. Obama campaigned promising to make his administration the most transparent in American history, but by shutting media out of events, he is clamping down on coverage and forcing more positive portayals of himself into the media bloodstream. At the same time, he chooses to meet secretly and off-the-record with journalists he knows will carry his water. It’s another broken promise from Barack Obama.