While the press wasn’t allowed to take photographs of Pres. Barack Obama’s reception of the “bodies of 30 fallen troops [that] arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware,” the White House did release a photo of Obama at the base.
Therefore, the White House’s release of a photo at the base in the face of the media’s being blocked led to criticism and questions, USA Today reported. My Fox Philly noted that “the Pentagon, which banned media coverage of the event, says it had no idea a White House photographer was there.”
At least one news outlet decided not to use the photo though — the Associated Press.
The AP stated in an article about the Air Force Base reception that it didn’t “transmit the White House photo to its customers,” because the wire service has a “policy of refusing government handout images of events it believes the media should have access to.”
The photo, seen here, was taken by White House photographer Pete Souza.
According to USA Today, the AP’s White House bureau chief Ben Feller questioned White House press secretary Jay Carney about the photo. Feller asked “why the White House put out a picture of the president in a very presidential mode, saluting, and the free press was not allowed to cover that?”
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In response, Carney stated the image was released “in the interests of transparency.” He added that “The reason why we were able to release a photo is — it was carefully done so that none of the transfer cases that contained remains were in the picture.”
The Associated Press noted that the Pentagon told media it couldn’t report on the reception. As USA Today explained, a 2009 guideline prevents press photos at the base unless families of the dead give the OK. Since most families in this instance didn’t give the OK, the press was barred from taking photos. Pop Photo noted that the press tried to negotiate by asking to “photograph just the officials, but were still rebuffed.”
The Washington Post reported that White House press corps was “instructed not to report on the trip ahead of time and then kept away from the ‘ dignified transfer’ ceremony of the troops’ remains once they arrived at Dover.”
The “traveling press pool,” however, did get to go to Dover, where they could “watch the president’s Marine One helicopter land” before being “herded into an auditorium at the base and kept there for five hours, forced to rely on intermittent briefings from White House officials.”
According to the Post, the White House claims it was under “decisions made by the Secret Service and military.”