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P.S. Turns out now, those photos of Obama giving his 'I caught Bin Laden' speech were faked

President Obama reenacting his Osama bin Laden is dead speech for photographers 5-1-11Could the Obama White House communications folks have found anything else to step in over the presentation this week of their boss and the dramatic recounting and re-recounting of the execution and really rapid remains disposal of Osama bin Laden?

It turns out now that all of the non-White House still photographs of the president's dramatic entrance down the hall into the East Room and the late Sunday evening speech itself were faked.

They were not taken during the actual event, which was photographed only by official White House photographer Pete Souza during the live TV broadcast.

The widely distributed press photographs were, in fact, shot during a reenactment of the entrance, the firm presidential strides down the carpeted hall and the speaking by the president right after the real event, as reported by our astute colleague James Oliphant.

These staged news photos were immediately flashed around the world for millions to see with varying captions about the president reading his statement for photographers, distinctions that may well have been lost in translations and publications.

It is a minor matter unless truth is a concern.

Which isn't always the case in politics. (Anyone remember the planted townhall questions flap during the early Democratic primary campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton?)

The Obama crew is not the first to bar professional photographers from a White House event and then offer a pretend presentation for subsequent "coverage."

The concern of presidential handlers is a staging one. The jostling of competitive photographers and the clatter of two or three dozen unseen camera shutters going off at the slightest presidential movement could clutter the video presentation, distracting viewers' attention as welpresident Obama delivering his Osama bin Laden is dead Speech 5-1-11l as the main actor's concentration on his Teleprompter.

Yes, of course, Obama's guys wanted maximum coverage of his proud "I got him and you-know-who didn't" moment. And independent news organizations always prefer their own material over a White House handout.

But to use this arguably misleading photo gimmick around something as sensitive as killing the world's most wanted murderer in an era of bounteous conspiracy theories about the 9/11 events he engineered is naive at best, moronic at worst.

Wasn't this the same president who only a few days ago was finally forced after four years of stonewalling to release his longform birth certificate to snuff an enduring conspiracy theory about his real citizenship?

The constantly changing details of the SEALs' courageous raid on the Bin Laden compound -- who with or without a gun was shot where and when after she was used as a shield or not -- have been accumulating all week.

This is because in their haste and eagerness to positively present the important news, Obama aides didn't gather the facts accurately, missed some changing ones and/or didn't repeatedly qualify their accounts with explicit warnings.

Take these numerous inconsistencies and conflicting details. Add them to these faked photos. Mix in Americans' chronic civic cynicism and post-Kennedy assassination susceptibility to conspiracy consumption.

Then add Obama's subsequent decision, against the advice of his CIA director, to withhold any photographic proof of Bin Laden's death and burial at sea, ostensibly from concern over jihadist sensitivities.

And all of this more than allows, it invites years of possibly groundless speculation over the historic capture, which with better handling could have been celebrated as a clean victory for Americans (and, who knows, perhaps also the presidential reelection candidate).

Now the ensuing discoveries of further PR klutziness are even more distracting than camera shutter clatters to the White House's primary goal of highlighting what one senior advisor called the president's historic "gutsiness" in sending others in to get Bin Laden.

OK, now about these photos. Which one was actually taken during the speech? And which one is pretend? Click on each to see.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press (reenacted); Pete Souza / White House.

Comments () | Archives (25)

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Like the flag raising at Iwo Jima photos?

"When the Truman Show Meets The Manchurian candidate" - fraudulence, fake, phoniness, forgery, lying and concealing - this is the liberals-created cocoon in which Barry Soetero, dba Barrack Hussein Obama lives and acts -

Per Franziskus School registration page:
Name: Barry Soetero -
citizenship: Muslim -
religion: Muslim -

No BC, no school records, no acquntances, mystery finances, mystery academic career, mystery existence in Chicago, them... victory in elections by having his opponent's (Ryan) divorce papers unsealed,... then other electoral coups there and there on the democrat map...

... then, the teleprompter is in the White House -

Fraud and forgery -

I'm glad to hear this fact being published. The public around the world has been deceived, and people must begin waking up to this. Thank you LA Times

I really ddnt think you guys cought. just show the pic

Bush could or would not.
The Republicans did not.
Bin is dead, so shutup....... now.

Dems are calling this "the administration's action of correcting the record."? they really mean their lies. Everyone here able to read knows the truth. Did they think they were going to trick someone? Do you Dems have crop circles in your backyard? Did Bush do it? Do you Dems consider yourself Americans? With Obama it is always only about the votes. It is amazing to me how anyone could still support him after what he has done to America!
Obama never should have announced Bin Laden's death. He should have taken the intel, kept quiet, and started tracking down the leads. Instead, Obama flaunts this like the campaign stunt it is putting Americans in more danger.
I hate to think how many American lives this last little political stunt will cost us. Well on the upside Obama is one and done. His own party has thrown him under the bus."A number of Democrats are past protesting the president, discussing among themselves ways to recruit a primary challenger in 2012". “I have been very disappointed in the president to the point where I’m embarrassed that I endorsed him,” Nancy Pelosi said. So the question becomes will Obama leave as his only legacy the fact that the nation will pay a substantial price in the form of higher interest rates turning us into a second class nation? When Obama goes back to Chicago Rahm and the boys are going to laugh in his face! Who would have thought Obama could give Chicago politicians a bad name? Who do you folks hope the Dems run for president in 2012? I am hoping for the Clinton's they would bring a vast amount of experience to the table at a time when America really needs it. As always you can contact me at work and yes keep those jokes coming. ""Why are we fighting in Afghanistan since they have no oil?" No oil but lots of Drugs!! America has to stop its dependence on Mexican drugs!
"Obama's campaign slogan for 2012 "I suck but Bush was worse"

Hi Andrew:

Every other president since Reagan have done staged pictures because taking pictures during a recording makes a lot of background noise. And because you don't really want pictures of your president blinking out there.

Have you ever seen the movie The King's Speech? In the final dramatic speech, King George VI speaks in a radio room. When his speech is completed, he walks over to a desk, picks up a piece of paper and someone takes his picture. That picture is used in the newspaper, staged to make it seem he spoke from that desk.

I would think you wouldn't expect a picture during this historic speech. I don't think anyone wanted to see a flash or a camera click when you could hear a pin drop during it.

So....why does this matter?

Oh, yeah!

" invites years of possibly groundless speculation over the historic capture..."

Does this mean you wanted to kick off said speculation?

I'm fairly certain most of the world doesn't give a jolly fig about what this "means." (umm...nothing?)

This is about as unimportant an issue as I have come across in my lifetime. Grow up and find something real to write about.

This is customary....isn't there something better to focus on?

I guess when your "politics" blog is actually a "politics that make Obama look bad" blog, inane posts like this one are inevitable.

Who cares one bit about this?

Oh, stop it already. It's making you look bad.

I used to wonder whether the Republican Party and their flunkies would have rallied around a President Gore after 9/11. Now there is no doubt.

This help prove that Obama is a fraud, everything about him is fake.

This help prove that Republicans will believe anything negative about Obama.

It's kind of amazing to watch the right-wingers flail around trying to find anything to trash Obama, even after the successful operation to kill bin Laden.

The anger, bitterness and sour grapes on display this week make you folks look terrible. If Obama's speech was the 'I caught bin Laden" speech, this post is the 'I'm an insufferable jerk' post.

Yeah, thanks for stirring up the lizard brains again...

Andrew Malcolm's entire point is that Obama shouldn't have stuck to protocol on handling photos of major speeches like this, because people like Andrew Malcolm might accuse him of yet another conspiracy for doing so. Really. That's the entire point of this "article".

And what is with this "faked" nonsense? Are you saying the president did not give the frigging speech? So some photos were taken afterwards, so as not to distract him with dozens of shutters and flashes during? You know, the way your hero Ronald Reagan demanded? Are you really this dense?

This is the most hackish piece of writing I have ever come across. And that is saying a lot. The saddest part? While 30 million Americans still struggle to find work, this man is paid handsomely to pump this garbage out.

Is this supposed to be parody?

I'm more concerned on his "debating" what to do for over 4 months and then "seizing" the outcome of Navy Seals' courageous act to bolster his own standing.
GWB wouldn't have waited 4 days to act.

Sometimes typos are just typos and don't imply anything about the writers' intelligence but it seems the anti-Obama commenters can't spell.

Malcolm manages to denigrate an historic moment based on behavior common to all modern politicians.. Yes we live in a media age, yes politicians stage manage their photo ops, yes Reagan and Bush and Clinton did tons of the same as will all future presidents. My advice to Malcolm is to go to work for Beck or Rush where your girlish hysteria will be useful and appreciated.

GWB wouldn't have waited 4 days to act.

Posted by: carlos cahuas | May 07, 201

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, but Didn't!

Nice! Andrew, if you were actually involved with the White House press corps you might have asked (or you would have known) whether this is common practice, which it has been for years. The TV people pick up the flashes and shutter noise from the still photographers so it's traditional that the guy does the walk twice. Obama's not the first, nor will he be the last. Only difference here is that you're so disconnected from the actual White House press corps that you decided to treat this like it's a new thing. OR, you did so purposely.



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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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