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Media angry over sudden lack of access to Obama.


CofCC.org News Team

Obama’s White House press secretary faced hostile questions over the sudden lack of media access to Obama. The White House has been releasing photos taken by a government photographer, but not allowing reporters and journalists to bring cameras into the White House.

From USA Today…

“The White House Correspondents’ Association believes strongly that access to the president of the United States should always be as open as possible,” said Associated Press correspondent Jennifer Loven, president of the group. “It is the most powerful office in the world, leading a country that is supposed to be a democratic example.”

Loven said government-produced photographs are an “unacceptable” substitute for those taken by independent news organizations. She said briefings on the president’s policies should be held on the record with names attached to the information.

When a reporter asked Gibbs why Americans don’t have a right to know the names of officials who spoke about the administration’s Guantanamo policy, Gibbs replied: “I hope that you all found the exercise that we did this morning helpful.”

Later Thursday, Gibbs guided Obama on an impromptu tour of the cramped White House press room, where the president engaged in chitchat but didn’t take policy questions. “I’m very proud of him,” Obama said about Gibbs, adding that he gave his press secretary a fist bump for his briefing.

Ari Fleischer, who was former president George W. Bush’s first press secretary, said the efforts to control press access and coverage prove that Obama’s promise of open government is thin.

“He made similar lofty, good government reform promises throughout the campaign, and when he realized they weren’t to his advantage, he reversed himself,” Fleischer said. “So, too, it will be with transparency.” The Bush White House also, at times, battled with the press over access and openness.