The old joke about CNN in the 1990s was that it stood for the Clinton News Network. The current joke about the anti-Israel Associated Press is that AP stands for Allah Press. In the 70s, people joked that NBC really meant National Broadcasting for Communists. We've all heard the various joke acronyms before, of course. But, the presumed sentiment of the individuals working for these news agencies aside, these are just sarcastic jibes cast at journalists and the companies they work for. But, a current situation blurs the line between mere jokes and reality. Time Magazine has employed a photographer named Callie Shell that has apparently been doing double duty as both a "journalist" AND a member of team Obama, taking pictures subsequently sent out as official White House photos.
How is it that we can have someone thinking that bias cannot be presumed when that same person is working for both a news agency and at the same time for the subject of that news? Is the love that the press has for The One so blurred that they cannot see a difference between covering Obama and working for Obama?
Michael Calderone reports in Politico of a situation that is embarrassing both Time Magazine, and Shell, the purported photo-journalist they've hired as a photographer. Naturally, Shell is claiming it's all just a misunderstanding... just like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Shell claims she was only doing a "favor" for the President and that she wasn't "on duty" with Time Magazine when she was acting the part of the White House's personal photog.
Shell says she was asked by the Obama family to take some photos of the Obama children getting ready for school and wasn't aware that the White House would issue them as official photographs. Shell claims she is not in the Obama's employ and points out that she had previously turned down a job offer from the Obama White House.
But her denials do not explain why the White House said she was their photographer.
And questions about moonlighting only increased on Jan. 21, after an Obama press aide told a van full of journalists that Shell was under contract with the Obamas, according to a source present. Shell had just gotten access to the Oval Office, and there was chatter among the pack about why.
As Calderone reports, this isn't the first time Shell's photographs were issued by Team Obama as official photos. During the transition, The New York Times printed several photos with a credit line of "Callie Shell / Obama transition office."
So, are we now in a world where journalists are both reporting the news and acting as staffers for those IN the news? And can they not see that their reliability will be called into question and that bias is readily charged?
Or do the members of the press even care about such stuff anymore?
(Shell's photo above as appears with Politico story)