There's a dispute heating up between photographers and the Obama White House when it comes to pictures of Sasha and Malia.
One the one hand, you have children whose parents would like them to lead a somewhat normal life.
On the other hand, you have the government telling photojournalists — not paparazzi but news organizations — what they can and cannot publish.
According to Politico's Michael Calderone, the AP wouldn't put pre-approved White House photos of the girls' first day of school on the wire — the same way a newspaper wouldn't print a White House press release, verbatim. That's not journalism.
Recently, when President Obama caught sight of 8-year-old daughter Sasha on the White House's Truman Balcony, he waved, and she waved back, and photographers captured a "rare, unscripted" moment. White House officials apparently asked news organizations not to distribute the image. A few weeks later, President Obama took his daughters out for ice cream, and photographers were permitted to photograph them and use the images — a set-up photo op.
According to the AP:
The two events reflect both the First Family's insistence on raising their young daughters away from the spotlight of the White House and their penchant for carefully using them to bolster the president's political image.
"He's going to try to have it both ways until and unless people start to question his value system and his sincerity in playing that role," said Gerald Shuster, a political communications expert at the University of Pittsburgh.
It's tough to figure out what feels right in this situation. Of course there's a curiosity about the Obama daughters and how they live. Kids! In the White House! It's exciting. Then again, they shouldn't be followed by paparazzi or thrust into an unwanted spotlight.
But isn't it troubling how the President is trying to control the media? Because there's a responsibility to your children, and there's spin control and censorship. And we're lucky to live in a country with a free press, where the government doesn't control the media. Where do the President's rights end and the photojournalist's rights begin?
The Official White House Flickr." />