Obama's bin Laden speech photo staged

  on May 04 2011 10:58 PM

The White House hotly debated whether to release photos of Osama Bin Laden after Sunday's raid on his Pakistan compound, but when it came to the President's own photos, there was only one way to go: staged.

While the photo that ran on many newspapers and websites the next morning appeared as if it were taken during Obama's address to the nation the night before, it was actually the result of an elaborate post-speech production.

As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent, Reuters photographer Jason Reed explained in his blog.

Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us.

The procedure was put in place apparently as a method to mitigate the distracting noise of the photographer's cameras and also give opportunity for journalists from different organizations to get directly in front of the president.

Reed describes how the president gave his speech to a single TV camera, then immediately after finishing, he pretended to speak for the still cameras.

The move is not without precedent. Several presidents have staged photos in recent history of the White House, according to John Harrington, the president of the White House News Photographers Association.

I am aware of it happening in previous administrations, Harrington tells Poynter Institute.

The times where I have known of it happening before is when the president is in the Oval Office and you are working in a very tight space.

 

Join the Discussion