Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 16, 2010

It's come to this? A column about presidential skin? Well, yes, it has.

Once before when President Obama went swimming, photographers snapped his chest. "Fit for office," the New York Post reported. But that was then; this is now. On a trip to Florida this past weekend the President went swimming, but the White House kept reporters and photographers away. The only photographer was a White House photographer and the only picture released showed the president's head and neck. The rest of him was underwater.

Newspaper photographers object to seeing a White House photo in the paper for the same reasons a reporter would object to seeing a White House press release instead of a story he or she had written. Many news organizations won't use such officialphotographs. The Associated Press did not distribute the official photo of Mr. Obama's swim.

A White House spokesman told the New York Times, "We're trying to get you guys as close to him as possible as many times as possible," which is pretty clearly not true.

White Houses always like to control events, control the words and pictures in which presidential events are reported to the voters. This White House is
no different.

When a reporter joked with the president that it might be good for him to be seen shirtless, Mrs. Obama quickly intervened. "No," she said. "It's not."

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