Several groups, including the White House Correspondents’ Association,the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the White House News Photographers Association, have signed letters protesting the White House’s ban on photographers during events at which the White House has its own official photographers and videographers present.

“You are, in effect, replacing independent photojournalism with visual press releases,” the groups said in the letter. “The practice is a troubling break from tradition, and belies the president’s vow to be more transparent.”

National Journal’s Ron Fournier on Thursday published a piece entitled “Obama’s Image Machine: Monopolistic Propaganda Funded by You” in which he argues that “unlike media photographers, official White House photographers are paid by taxpayers and report to the president. Their job is to make Obama look good. They are propagandists – in the purest sense of the word.”

“Again, this is propaganda – utterly lacking a skeptical eye,” Fournier continues. “The irony is that Obama is using technology that democratized and flattened the media to centralize and strengthen the powers an institution, The Presidency.”

Editor’s note: A tweet that was inadvertently included was removed from this post.