Media Blog

Michelle Obama’s Target Photo-Op: A Perfect Example of White House and Media Collusion

Was it pure chance that an AP photojournalist just happened to be on scene ready to photograph the First Lady shopping at Target? Or is “good source work” the new euphemism for “the White House told me to be there?”

Neither the White House nor the Associated Press will say how AP photographer Charles Dharapak came to be the only news photographer present at the Alexandria Target to capture Obama’s shopping excursion.

“All I can say is that it was the result of good source work on his part,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said, declining to elaborate on the sources or the work involved.

A spokeswoman for Michelle Obama, Kristina Schake, also declined to discuss how the photographs came about. In a statement, she said, “It is not uncommon for the First Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the city outside the White House gates.”

But it is uncommon, and perhaps unprecedented, for a single news organization to record such a trip. First ladies, such as Laura Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton, occasionally went shopping or on outings in Washington without anyone in the media tagging along.

Either way, a questionable news event that began with positive spin for the White House is now backfiring as questions emerge over its seemingly manipulated coverage. The rest of the story here.