By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
Updated 21h 46m ago
President Obama salutes fallen troops Tuesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The image millions of Americans saw after the bodies of 30 fallen troops arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Tuesday was of a silhouetted President Obama in somber salute.
Now news organizations are wondering why the White House was allowed to take and distribute that photo when media covering the event were barred from taking any.
The guiding rule since 2009 has been that if families approved, the sad events at Dover AFB could be memorialized in photographs. But in this case, 19 of 30 families nixed the idea, and the Pentagon said no pictures could be taken even if they didn't show the cases of fallen Navy SEALs and others, despite protests from several news groups.
Even the Pentagon itself didn't take photos. But the White House did, posting it on its website and sending it out so that newspapers could portray their president saluting. None of the cases used to carry troops killed last weekend when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan were depicted.
The Associated Press' White House bureau chief, Ben Feller, asked about it at Wednesday's daily press briefing.
"The media, as you, of course, know, were not allowed to cover that directly, were not allowed to see what the president saw," Feller said. "Can you explain why the White House put out a picture of the president in a very presidential mode, saluting, and the free press was not allowed to cover that?
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the single photo was distributed "in the interests of transparency."
"The reason why we were able to release a photo is -- it was carefully done so that none of the transfer cases that contained remains were in the picture," he said.
Glad to know that in the event of my death in combat, my remains will be recycled into a campaign prop. :mad:
BTW, is it me, or does it look more like he's thumbing his nose?