By Mario Trujillo - 11/21/13 05:54 PM EST
The White House said Thursday it is not trying to replace photojournalists by restricting access to some meetings and releasing its own photos of President Obama.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House would not condone other countries using a government employee as a replacement for a member of the press, but he asserted that is not the case here.
Earnest said the White House is actually offering more access.
“So I understand why that is a source of some consternation to people in this room, but to the American public, that's a clear win,” he said.
Nearly 40 news outlets and organizations signed a letter Thursday saying previous administrations have allowed more access to meetings for press photographers, and the restrictions fly in the face of the administration’s commitment to broaden that tradition.