The quest for authenticity in communications knows no bounds, as the White House press office and the White House Correspondents Association have reached a new agreement for shooting presidential speeches in real time. No longer will the chief executive return to the podium to pose for after-the-fact photos immediately following important announcements at the White House.
According to news reports, under the new policy, each White House event will be assigned one dedicated news photographer from a pool made up of the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The New York Times.
The Washington Post noted that some journalists questioned the practice of staged photo ops after President Obama announced late in the evening on May 1 that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden. "Photos of the president that were published soon after seemed to show him in mid-speech, but were, in fact, staged just after it to accommodate news photographers who were banned from the East Room during the actual event," wrote Paul Farhi in The Post on Tuesday.
At a time in which readers are accustomed to seeing on-the-scene photography and live-action photographs from news sources and citizen-journalists alike, it's appropriate that the White House allow a photographer to take real-time shots that capture an historical event as it happens. Any whiff of fakery serves neither the news media nor the White House.
This obsessive rooting out of inauthentic communications has taken on a life of its own. Any organization that misrepresents images should expect to be called out—in all kinds of embarrassing ways. Of course, some organizations—OK, some cable networks—are immune to the catcalls. Consider that the exception to the rule.