Obama Staged Photos of bin Laden Death Announcement

U.S. President Barack Obama re-enacts his walk to the lecturn after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden, from the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 1, 2011. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan and his body was recovered, President Barack Obama announced on Sunday. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Reuters, AP photojournalists describe staging of Obama photo taken after TV announcement of bin Laden’s death (Poynter.org):

Until Wednesday, the White House debated whether to release photos showing Osama bin Laden’s body. In theory, the photos would be proof to any doubters that the terrorist is dead. But not all photos can be believed — not even when they seem to show the president of the United States making a historic speech.

Reuters White House photographer Jason Reed describes how the president made his speech to a single TV camera, then immediately after finishing, he pretended to speak for the still cameras.

Reed writes:

“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. 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.”

That means the photograph that appeared in many newspapers Monday morning of Obama speaking may have been the staged shot, captured after the president spoke. This type of staging has been going on for decades.

“There is nothing that we do as photojournalists that is unethical” about this, he says. “We fully disclose in our captions that this is a re-enactment, after the live announcement. We put that in.”

“The statement for the photographers took place two to three minutes after the live speech and it happened very quickly — extremely fast — with each photographer rotating into the center position.”

2 comments for “Obama Staged Photos of bin Laden Death Announcement

  1. n.zuckerman
    May 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    There is a growing suspicion that the Reuters photos of three dead people inside the compound are faked pictures, and, as such would
    not be the first time that Reuters has posted knowingly or unknowingly touched up photos.

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