There was just one camera in the room with President Obama when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden — the one beaming his address to television. Afterward, a group of still photographers was let in and the president went through the motions, walking to the podium and pretending to speechify for 30 seconds.

This is done for major events because, according to Reuters shutterbug Jason Reed, who was among those present, “To reproduce the same angle that viewers had just seen on TV, the still photographer must step right in front of the teleprompter and block the TV camera. This is the only way to do it, so stills cannot be in that position during the event. In addition, the noise made by the still cameras and the movement by the photographers themselves would be an unnecessary distraction for the president if pictures were take during the live address.”

But a post on Poynter points out that the National Press Photographers Association code of ethics says photographers must “resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.”

One final wrinkle from The Los Angeles Times, where we first read about this: “Ironically, news of the practice comes as those wire services are boycotting the GOP presidential debate sponsored by Fox News Channel Thursday evening in South Carolina. Fox News is preventing photographers from covering the event live.” — PZS

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