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Video || Creating Obama One Photo at a Time

I thought you might want to see this excellent mini-documentary by ReasonTV revealing how the White House uses photography to craft President Obama’s image, employing Canon-wielding propagandist Pete Souza instead of the White House press corps to present the president to the public.

In the video, news image analyst Michael Shaw, publisher of, describes how important the exclusion of press photographers is to the White House and how effectively Obama’s public relations outfit uses social media to disseminate the desired image – literally and figuratively – of the president.

Shaw explains something I’ve never completely understood – Obama’s constant appearances in the presence of celebrities. Shaw asserts that by situating Obama within the popular culture, his advisors successfully erased the sense of unfamiliarity and even strangeness about a man who was very different from previous presidents – an African American whose middle name was Hussein and whose birthplace was in question among some.

I would add that Obama’s image gurus made someone whose political views were way far to the left of most Americans seem comfortably part of the American mainstream.

And, “the press was eating it up,” Shaw said. Only recently have reporters begun seriously insisting on more “access.”

27 thoughts on “Video || Creating Obama One Photo at a Time”

  1. ” Canon-wielding propagandist Pete Souza ” So, Mr. Kofler tell us what you really think of Pete Souza. :)

    Thanks for this. It was excellent. I really like Bill Whittle and what he does on reasontv. Now there is a man with integrity and insight.

      1. Apologies all around. The background voice sounded like Bill Whittle and I assumed this was a pjtvmedia afterburner piece shown or somehow in cooperation with reasontv. My bad. Kudos to Shaw and reasontv.

        I still thought it was excellent.

  2. “He who controls the medium controls the message. He who controls the message controls the masses.”

    – Joseph Goebbels

    1. Yep,that’s certainly working for BO. No wonder his approvals are so high (well, not below 40%).

      It’s a joke on twitter that whenever BO commemorates something he shows a picture of himself.

      The open media backfired for MO’s China trip, since the girls were mostly pouting in all the public photos. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen the girls since.

    2. Funny you should mention the Third Reich because Hitler did have a court photographer like Obama. I forget his name but he was an early Hitler fan from Munich and he introduced Hitler to Eva Braun. This man also put out glossy books from his photos.

      And let’s not forget Leni Riefenstahl.

      1. Heinrich Hoffman?

        Unlike most Broadway shows, this play is notably absent of an intermission. “Obama the Play” never should have run beyond two-weeks and off-Broadway. The fact that it has, is due entirely to a cast of actors and a PR team that controlled the media in all its forms and a compliant audience that is enthralled with Reality TV and have no idea who played in the original production in German.

  3. Back in the beginning, sometime in 2009, then Social Secretary Desiree Rogers was quoted in the WSJ and Vogue magazine as she described her role in promoting the “Obama brand”. At the time, it seemed to be a curious phrase and wasn’t all that seized upon as a public strategy to make the Obamas a familiar couple to Americans who were wary of this strange man and his wife.
    This blockade of public photos by the WhiteHouse must have been in the works for a long time, along with some questionable moves by the Obama family to make them appear to be “just like us”, when if fact they weren’t just like us, nor are they anything like anyone else in the US now.
    The only reason now to prevent any outsider taking photos is another means of controlling the press and of course, the message.

    I’d say it’s been a disaster so far, and might even be a boomerang that shows the President as a shallow, adoring fan of the people who are supposedly adoring him. The parties with the glitterati of Hollywood and other entertaiment venues only highlights the divide between the privileges he and his family enjoy, and the dismal lives of most Americans.
    The press might be contained for the most part, and the message might show the Os being courted by the rich and famous, but the public is not impressed with his actions, or the results of his inactions.

    1. I think they lost me when the media started called MO the New JackieO. Barf. I think that’s when I found Newsbird and MOTUS who definitely disagreed with the fawning media.

      Jackie would have been dressing like a Pink Lady from Grease to even come close to comparing the two.

      1. Viz, MOTUS today–the morphing between Obama and Nixon, Obama and Nixon. The man is never off TV–never, not one hour. I guess I don’t think their proagandizing is all that effective.

  4. Blessings for the inventor(s) of the remote control. Anytime I see the Lying King’s mug on tv, I just hit the change channel button.
    I’m a pretty tolerant person, but I dislike those who lie, cheat at cards or can’t hold their liquor. Just tell me the truth, deal from the top of the deck and stop drinking when you’ve had enough.

    1. I cannot wait for the day when this phony man is shown in some REAL photos. My True Crime obsession is on overload!

  5. Great video, Keith. Thank you.

    From beginning to end, Obama the Brand, has been one giant, carefully crafted Madison Ave. campaign ad. I’m shocked that no one has cried ‘foul’ until recently.
    My bet is Michelle and Valjar saw the potential for this tall, good-looking, telegenic, photogenic, well dressed, well spoken, bi-racial young man with the Pepsodent smile …and hired the biggest PR firm that money could buy.
    Everything was staged and crafted. From the speech at the DEM convention to the Cairo and Berlin speeches to the Gettysburg Express and, ultimately, to the spectacle at Grant Park where the Messiah appeared solo for his historic acceptance speech. It was like a Cecil B. DeMille production.
    Everything about Obama stems from the ‘cult of personalty’. There is no ‘there’ there. He is a creation of Michelle, Valjar, and Madison Ave.

    It should be interesting to see what he does without the teleprompter, presidential trappings, PR people, and Pete Souza when he has to vacate his govt. housing.
    As to his Presidential Library – all he needs is a photo gallery somewhere on Oahu.

    1. “Don’t leave home without it” used to be a tag line for a credit card. Now it looks like Obama’s mantra when it comes to a) his TelePrompter, b) his Presidential Podium, c) Pete Souza, and d) a fully choreographed plan for using all of the above to enhance his image.

      From his (still only) photo posing with a football to Michelle pushing an empty Target cart, the Obama’s control what the public sees of them, and redefine “Reality Show”.

      1. Remember the ‘President-Elect’ seal? Hubris to the nth degree. When it fell off the podium, I laughed til I cried.

  6. I found this fascinating but not really surprising. Glad someone is putting the pieces together. I truly hope we are not at the point of no return with the press, that this does not become the norm…

    NOW… someone please tell me… was that shot of Dear Leader in the doorway of an Egyptian tomb for real??? If you look to the right of the doorway at the heiroglyphics (at the 3:47 mark), just below the snake (appropriate) there is a cartoonish-like carving of what looks like the president himself. huh???

    1. Good eyes Artcat. I didn’t pay attention at first, but I froze the frame, and it sure looks like its O, jug ears and his grin.

      1. It’s pretty funny once you notice it. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if it translated into something slanderous towards the great O.

        My niece and I used to play with a rubber stamp set of heiroglyphs, and I don’t remember there being a symbol that looks like Obama with giant ears.

  7. Excellent video, Keith. I’d bet that most of the people in this country are not aware of what’s going on, but it would be nice if this video went viral.

    1. And let’s not forget the obverse of this, all the records and photos which have been sealed or repressed.

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