You ready to play once more? Excellent! But remember, no Googling. Here we go:
New York Times photographer Doug Mills strode into Jay Carney’s office Oct. 29 with a pile of pictures taken exclusively by President Obama’s official photographer at events the White House press corps was forbidden to cover. “This one,” Mills said, sliding one picture after another off his stack and onto the press secretary’s desk. “This one, too – and this one and this one and … .”
The red-faced photographer, joined by colleagues on the White House Correspondents’ Association board, finished his 10-minute presentation with a flourish that made Carney, a former Moscow correspondent for Time, wince.
“You guys,” Mills said, “are just like Tass.”
Comparing the White House to the Russian news agency is a hyperbole, of course, but less so with each new administration. Obama’s image-makers are taking advantage of new technologies that democratized the media, subverting independent news organizations that hold the president accountable.
Unlike media photographers, official White House photographers are paid by taxpayers and report to the president. Their job is to make Obama look good. They are propagandists – in the purest sense of the word.
Journalists understand that the president’s family and national security events must be off-limits at times. Journalists also don’t object to the White House using social media; those are platforms as legitimate as televisions and print. The problem is that the Obama White House is simultaneously restricting access of independent media while flooding the public with state-run media.
Again, this is propaganda – utterly lacking a skeptical eye.
If you guessed “Ron Fournier,” pat yourself on the back and have that second cocktail this evening. And Name That Pundit is more exciting than ever, because if he makes just one more appearance, Fournier will be permanently retired from the game.