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Chuck Todd vs. WH's Earnest On Transparency, Compares White House To Putin

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: We are very committed that principle, about the important work that you and your colleagues do around here because it's good for our democracy. You've heard the president speak about this more eloquently than I can from here.

CHUCK TODD: I understand that. But when you guys put out photos, that are Pete Souza only (White House photographer) photos -- this is not personal to Pete Souza -- when this White House releases a photo and you say that that is somehow being more transparent because you're releasing something that that we in the press corps didn't have access to. If Vladimir Putin were doing something like that you guys would mock it and say 'Well, there was no free press and the ability to,' you know -- so, if he were releasing photos that were just done by his office to various things. And, you know, I know that's an extreme way of looking at it, but at this podium people have been critical of other countries and how they handle press freedom. By this White House doing it by releasing their own version of things without a press filter, doesn't that call into question about basic small-d democratic values?

EARNEST: It doesn't. I think what it does is -- here's what we would take a dim view toward. If there were another country who were using a government employee as a substitute for an independent professional journalist, and that's just not something that we -- that is the clear difference.

TODD: That is happening.

EARNEST: That is not.

TODD: That has happened when he (Obama) took the second oath.

EARNEST: What we have done is that we have tried to provide, using technology and the president's personal photographer, as a way to provide additional insight into what's happening at the White House.

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