Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reenacting History: Pictures of Historic Presidential Events Often Posed After-the-Fact





A presidential practice has occurred since Harry Truman but has rarely, if ever, been talked about: presidents pose for pictures with the media after events have already taken place. Those photos are then presented to the public as pictures of the actual event when, in fact, they have been staged. So, when pictures were released of President Obama making his historic announcement to the nation about the killing of Osama bin Laden, those pictures were from the staged event which occurred AFTER President Obama had already addressed the nation.

According to WaPo: "Those pictures of the president standing at the lectern for one of his televised speeches? Yeah, they’re a kind of a crock. For decades, little known to the public, photos of the president making a major address were reenactments. Presidents — stretching at least as far back as Harry Truman, apparently — finished their speeches and then pretended to do it again a few minutes later, so that photographers barred from the actual event could snap photos. The resulting images have often been presented as the real thing when published by countless newspapers and Web sites. Maybe not a critical deception but phony nevertheless."

So, how was this deceptive practice outed? "A well-respected Reuters photographer, Jason Reed, blew the lens cap on this everyday fraud when he blogged about the Sunday-night assignment." Logistics and the need to constantly feed the media beast created the practice in the first place: "The problem is the tension between the news media’s desire for fresh images of a major speech and the logistics of pulling that off. No administration wants an address of major importance disrupted by clicking shutters or jostling photojournalists. What’s more, some parts of the White House, such as the Oval Office, are too small to accommodate even a limited pool of photographers — once teleprompters, lights, TV cameras and production technicians are in place."

The Obama White House has indicated it will stop the practice. What then, however? The public does have a desire to see still images of POTUS during historic moments. Chances are the official White House photographer will fill the void if, in fact, the White House no longer accommodates the media's desire to stage events post-event. Or, the media will have to do a better job labeling the photos indicating that they were taken after the event they are supposed to represent.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

POTUS disrespects the President and his position in our country. Spell the damn thing out and get out of the sad speedy culture we have of abbreviating everything. My grandmother taught me this respectful piece long ago when she was teaching me how to address an envelope - spelling out the state's name rather than abbreviating. Minnesota is much better than MN. Be respectful, spell the words out.

Go Christian Ponder!

DC said...

I disagree. It doesn't disrespect anything. People who work in the White House refer to the president as POTUS.

Mr. is an abbreviation of Mister. Should we spell that out all the time?

I am also certain that the state of Minnesota does not mind having its name abbreviated...

KnightinBaldingArmor said...

POTUS is an acronym used by politicians, media, secret service, ect.... In fact, presidents use the term POTUS. Plus, I think you meant to type "POTUS is an acronym that shows disrepect for...." It's a grammar thing!

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