Hat Tip to Politico:
Time’s current issue is chock-full of Callie Shell photos, the news magazine benefiting from her incredible access to the first family . . .
. . . on inauguration day. But on Jan 5, Shell took pictures in a very different role than her journalistic one—allowing her work to be sent out as official White House transition press releases.
Shell’s dual roles have blurred the lines of journalism, leaving Time embarrassed and White House photographers stewing.
Shell defended her work, telling Politico that she works for Time and has never worked for the Obamas, whether during the administration, transition or campaign.
And Time insists that she’s a contract employee who was not on assignment Jan. 5, when she snapped photos of Sasha and Malia getting ready for school. A Time spokesperson said there is no formal policy over whether a contract photographer can take photos of their subjects, even if unpaid.
Indeed, Shell wasn’t paid for the transition photos, which she said was done as a last minute favor. A transition office intern, Shell said, then mistakenly distributed them with a credit line—the New York Times, for one, attributed the photos to “Callie Shell / Obama transition office.”
Within Time, the fact that Shell took photos sent out by the transition office, in between paid assignments for the magazine, has been frowned upon. And among photographers in the press corps, where access can mean the difference between the front page or nothing at all, the idea of doing any freelance work for the Obamas, albeit unpaid, hasn’t sat well, either.
“I had not seen that done before,” said one White House photographer. “It is extraordinary, uncommon, and exceptional.”
While Shell saw it as a simple favor, the incident left others in the press corps questioning where her allegiance lies day to day.
How about questioning the allegiance of the entire MSM?
A couple weeks before taking photos of the Sasha and Malia heading to school, Shell was shooting Obama for Time’s “Person of the Year” issue. A couple weeks after, she was back on the clock for Time, covering the train ride to Washington D.C. and inauguration.
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.
Shell said the White House aide misspoke and has since apologized for talking about a contract to the press corps. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on what was said on Jan. 21.
That same day, Time.com published the first photo of Obama in the oval office—a much-talked-about shot of the new president on the phone at his desk, coolly breaking Bush White House tradition of appearing sans jacket.
……One colleague said that on the campaign plane, about a year ago, Obama ventured to the back of the plane to thank Shell for a picture she gave to Michelle, giving her a peck on the check while other photographers kept snapping away.
……In Shell’s case, her friendly gestures—whether photographing the girls or giving away pictures—has seemed like a too-cozy relationship to some in the press corps.
“The real problem lies in the perception,” said one White House photographer. “Do [readers] think when they pick up Time magazine they are getting objective coverage?”
That’s a rhetorical question, right?
The only reason that the press corps and the contingent of kicked-to-the-curb media hacks are complaining, is because they didn’t get the same ‘too-cozy relationship’. And after all they did to get him elected…the sappy articles, the halo-effect pictures, the cameras capturing every bit of THE ONE’S aura on film…*sob*.
The whole thing is pathetic beyond words.