The White House on Thursday hit back at claims from media organizations that they have not allowed sufficient access to photojournalists by tweeting a picture of President Obama being photographed by the press in the Oval Office.
The photo, tweeted by official White House photographer Pete Souza, shows Obama signing a bill as a pack of photographers for news organizations record the moment.
“Pres Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office as press photographers take photos,” said Souza in the tweet.
The photo came after the White House Correspondents Association and other media groups complained in a letter to White House press secretary Jay Carney that the administration was barring photojournalists from events which Obama’s own photographers were able to attend.
“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government,” the letter read.
The media groups contend that the practice broke the president’s pledge of transparency and is an effort to exert greater control over Obama’s Image.
The White House in the past has released officials photos from Souza for events the press corps was blocked from attending.
The White House, however, has dismissed the complaints, insisting that some private events do not guarantee media access.
Obama deputy press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday said the president had “worked very hard to live up” to his pledge of transparency.
“We remain fully committed to trying to give you and the American public access to the president and as much insight as possible into how the president is spending his day,” he continued.
He also characterized the tension between the White House and the press corps as normal.
“You’re supposed to be agitating for more access. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be doing your job,” said Earnest.
White House correspondent Brian Hughes contributed.