White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took questions Thursday about photographer access to White House events, the subject of a fiery op-ed by AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon.
Carney said the “fundamental difference here is distribution,” according to a transcript of the event. He continued:
And I can tell you, again, because of the respect I have for the photographers in particular, that I am very sensitive to the situation they’re in and that all of us — when I say “us,” I was in — by the transformation created by the Internet and the pressure that has put on business models. And I think that’s what is often never mentioned in op-eds or in other venues where this issue is raised.
But a lot of this — that some of this, anyway, has to do with, you know, fundamental transformations in the media that — of which we and other institutions are simply participants, but not — we did not create the Internet, this administration, and —
The problem is access, one questioner said in response. Carney noted that “every White House, every president has had meetings that the press didn’t cover.” He said the White House has “been meeting with representatives of the White House correspondents, and we will continue to work to increase access, to be responsive to some of these concerns.” He declined to give examples.
Asked whether President Obama was aware of the flap over photographer access, Carney said “there is absolute agreement” that “there’s no substitute for a free and independent press reporting on a presidency, the White House, on Congress, on the government.” Such a belief “is the view from the very top,” he said.
Previously: Kenny Irby: White House photo practices break promise of open government | USA Today won’t publish handout photos from White House | McClatchy updates policy on handout photos: ‘it’s important to take a stance’