White House prefers to grant access to those more supportive of Obama’s policies
April 10, 2014
As President Obama arrived at the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium in Austin, Texas today for a speech, Secret Service allowed pro-amnesty supporters to demonstrate on a street outside of the event while forcing press to stand further away.
About ten minutes prior to the presidential motorcade pulling into the auditorium, which is at the University of Texas, local police told Infowars reporters and other members of the press that they could not stand on the closed street and would have to film the event from the sidewalk opposite of the auditorium.
But once over 100 pro-amnesty supporters arrived, police allowed them to demonstrate on the street while still asking press to remain on the sidewalk.
When asked why the activists were allowed on the street but not the press, a Travis Co. Deputy Sheriff said that Secret Service was “making the calls.”
There’s no doubt that the Secret Service’s objective was to control President Obama’s image by restricting press access while also showcasing event attendees who are more supportive of the president’s policies.
For one, out of all the press members who received media badges for the event, only a select few were allowed to attend Obama’s speech as well as speeches given by former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on previous days.
Journalists who were not allowed into the speech had to cover the event in designated press areas, similar to “Free Speech Zones,” several hundred yards away from the building.
One reporter with years of experience said that this was the worst press access he’s ever seen.
He pointed out that during the last presidential campaign, he could get within several feet of President Obama to take photographs, but now he couldn’t even get within 200 yards of former President Clinton.
Other journalists have also criticized the White House for restricting press access to many events such as this one.
“Once we lose access, we’ll never get it back,” the Associated Press’s chief White House photographer, Charles Dharapak, warned colleages during a Newspaper Association of America conference last month.
Kenny Irby, the senior faculty for visual journalism at the Poynter Institute, said that the Obama administration’s chief photographer Pete Souza is more of a propagandist than a real photojournalist because his job is to make Obama “look good, make the president look presidential.”
And his statement isn’t far-fetched considering the staged look of all the White House’s official photos.
In response, both USA Today and the AP announced that they would not use these photos except in rare circumstances.
But if the press does not stand up for their access, they may eventually be forced to and that’s exactly what the White House wants.