It Took a Photographer to Catch Trump's Chief of Staff in a Lie

Here’s a good case to save all of your raw video and photo files on every shoot: It could one day be used to reveal the truth when a government official lies.

That’s what South Florida’s Sun Sentinel photographer Taimy Alvarez discovered when she found that she had full, unedited footage from 2015 of the opening of a new FBI building in her coverage area. This was the same opening event that was most recently referred to in a speech by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, where he accused Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of grandstanding about getting funding for the building when she actually didn’t take credit for it. The accusations from Kelly were in response to Wilson’s comments about Donald Trump’s condolence call to the widow of slain soldier Sgt. La David Johnson, a phone conversation that was largely considered insensitive.

According to Poynter, Alvarez’s friend had reminded her she shot photos that day, and she discovered that she had the entire speech recorded from her Nikon D810. Because no other TV stations aired the event, and the FBI wasn’t releasing the video, she had the only other footage. The newspaper decided to post the whole video unedited.

While the video clearly shows that there wasn’t any grandstanding, because the video lives on the Sun-Sentinel site, it doesn’t have as much traffic as if it was released on YouTube, and most video that lives on newspaper websites get far less traffic than on social media. Regardless, the White House hasn’t apologized over the misstatements.

You can watch the recap from CBS Miami above or watch the original video in its entirety at this link.

[via Poynter]

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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You know this is going to be one big mess, right?


Gone the way of Engadget. Going political for either party is a sure way of destroying this site. Epic fail.

How is documenting a public figure lying, taking sides?

While I agree...not sure this is the right venue for all that.

Just as an aside...Politicians lie??

In "Politics and the English Language" George Orwell noted, "Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable,and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." That said, Gen. Kelly is not a politician.

Hate don't like to disagree but when you work in the white house and were the former homeland secretary...guess what?

your a politician.

We have differing standards for the title politician, but I welcome your disagreement. My start position is that a politician runs for office. A Homeland Security Sec, a Defense Sec, Treasury etc are not therefore politicians per se. Of course anyone can be political, and it's hard to shake one's political preferences. I had to add that last line out of respect for Orwell after using his words.

Some politicians lie directly to your face and other politicians lie behind your back (and you may never find out). Trump is an example of the first case but he's often on the tight side of an issue. It's a tough choice.

Remember when Fstoppers actually had quality articles? What is this dribble.

What makes it dribble?

NBA? Double dribble? Politics and photography? Don't Downthumb Monkey me, I'm trying to work with you. ;)


Why a political post here on this page? Take it down if you don't want to lose followers

in a way, that article is more important than the self serving.. Why Are You a Photographer? article.. or is Nikon sensor bigger than Sony..

Aren't the photographers meant to tell the truth through their pictures/videos. especially when there is so much disinformation, trolls, these days and spamming with the "real" fake news!?

If there is no story/truth to tell. what is there left to tell or take a picture of?

Switch to CGI and Photoshop, the photographers have no purpose!

You can't back that threat up! Armchair censors are as unpopular as IRS agents. If I played the Downthumb Monkey game, you'd merit one. ;)

Cancel your subscription and stop payment. That'll show them.

And make angry posts about your outrage on some site that specializes in that! Yeah, that'll show'em!

Here's the problem with this article... I come here to get educated about photography. To learn new techniques, read product reviews, etc. Photography for me is a way to escape the rest of my world. While this article pretends to sell us on the importance of backing up and saving our images, it's really just an pathetic attempt by the writer to share his political opinions. There are dozens of other reasons to save you images and those reason are more closely aligned with photography. Honestly, the article is a sorry attempt at either, photography or politics. It makes no difference to me which side of the political fence you're on. I didn't come to this site for political crap as there are plenty of other fake news sites where I can get that.

But, nothing about this article prevents you from your stated goals here, you could just skip it.

So what you're saying is that any time any kind of political news story happens that's connected to photography, nobody on the photography circuit should ever write about it?

What he's saying is that his escapism has been interrupted:)

You come here to get educated on photography... but most of your posts are political. Weird...

Politics aside, this story should also be put to the side.
Thou it relates to why our original works are important, this is way too political an issue for this forum.

I thought this story was about photography / video footage etc and its role in bring news worthy stories regardless of politics. Similar to the image of President Clinton giving Monica a hug.

I was trying to dig up that photo and story - in that Clinton/Lewinsky case, saving negatives proved to be a thing of historic proportions. In this case, saving footage that seemed rather benign and meaningless at the time has turned out to alter history here, or at least bring light to the truth, which isn't politics, but just reporting on a crazy happenstance that a photographer is at the center of.

For a while, I'd go through old photos on raw shoots and delete bad ones or ones that I thought were meaningless just to save hard drive space, but now I'll think twice.

It was recent. Look it up and give you the date.

I'm behind any writer distinguishing himself from the crowd, and this story is both timely and perfectly truthful. Now, I've memorized your name, and know your face. That's a good career move, you have my encouragement. I wonder, did you have a hard time putting this past your editors here?

P.S. In the Clinton/Lewinsky case it was saving the stained dress, not some photo of a hug, that saved the truth. ;)

Ah, to be a fly on the wall when this site's Editors make decisions about what to publish. We know by rule that you do what earns you advertisers, period. As for the topic, it is true, there's gold in them thar files! The focus on this minor event becomes the question, but I'd say that any columnist here is free to take his swings on a photo topic under his/her own style. So we have Wasim Ahmad doubling down against Trump Inc., under the guise of photo advice! It's as fantastic as it is ridiculous, both!

It will certainly bring out some commentary, generally good for business especially as, 1. this magazine is in the end inconsequential, 2. the author has a photographic point and is entitled to his pov, but most of all 3. I've seen a bevy of users here express vile bigoted opinions, and I relish the opportunity to practice whack-a-mole on them. Get some coffee, visit Fstoppers, read some light photography product tech, and punch a Fascist in the face! That's entertainment.

However, because I am devoted to good journalism and good journalism is broad in scope, I advise this publication to get themselves a bookend to Mr Ahmad, someone that reasonable Right Wingers can depend on to play the game from their position. A hack William F Buckley must be out there and want to earn an extra $250 a week. Fair is fair, please balance the politics.

John, do you really think there's some cigar chomping editor spiking stories around here? Editors are so 1990. It seems to me that the writers are their own editors and post what they want without a lot of supervision, which explains the up and down level of articles...

Cigar what? There is some smart kid with tats making decisions, yes. And for the record editors, not writers, write the headline, and it's the headline here that is the rocket fuel with both "Trump," and "lie" used when other terms would have sufficed just as well. Conversely I'd be surprised to learn that there is zero oversight, so it has to be something in between. My best guess on this one is that they associate long comment streams with ad revenue.

I agree the writing is up & down, with some cases of horrendous composition, articles that are ads, some ridiculous bios (in poor written English comp) for writers etc. It is what it is, this is not a scholarly publication, it's just fun with occasional good stuff and lots of t&a.

This is a photographic site, not the Harvard or Cambridge Literary Society.

That's for sure. Any yet photography and literacy are tightly related. Go figure.

I have, in 1971. This site does not just cater for those with an academic qualification. ie the Charles Dickens of this world. Individuals with basic comprehension of photography visit this site as well. They too need to access information in a way that makes sense to them. People who don't play with word as Charles Dickens did in his career as a writer.

Dickens was a photographer? That's newsworthy!

John, be a good man and take a long nice rest. We were discussing Literacy.

That was sarcasm, you should have noticed with your keen literary eye. At any rate I started the thread, you were replying to me. It's only fair I decide what I am talking about, thanks. ;)

Controlling as well. Certainly need to take a rest....

Off topic.

Still controlling.

This is very relevant ESPECIALLY in our world today where POTUS is systematically trying to destroy the FREE PRESS. Photo Journalists are Photographers too. This article is relevant to our world today and to Photojournalism.

Its cool guys, stand by and bury your head in the sand while photographers/journalists/videographers and whatever else are vilified for simply pointing the camera or showing the TRUTH.

For all the people on here complaining about the topic....Do you also complain about pictures of starving children? or famines? or poverty stricken areas? Or WAR? All of those things are Political and can be seen in a different light depending on where you are standing on the political spectrum. Also all of those things are NOT entertaining or an escape from reality but rather the opposite. They WANT you to feel uncomfortable and THINK.

Remember CHINA probably NEVER wanted that Picture of "Tank Man" to ever reach the masses. You folks should read that story because it seems ever relevant in our current world of constantly attacking the first amendment/Free Press/Journalists/Photographers. Imagine a world where this picture was never seen and all we had was the "WORD OF THE CHINESE GOVT. AND THEIR FOUR STAR GENERALS DRIVING THE TANK" to go by.

You want to use photography as as escape from the world, or a distraction, that is fine.

But don't knock the Photo Journalists and their stories just because they want to use photography for less then personal amusement and maybe want to use it to speak truth to power.

And don't knock a Photo driven website for covering all aspects of photography just because it makes you a little uncomfortable (sometimes the TRUTH is not pretty or entertaining.)

especially one that has to post like five hundred articles a day about how you are not a pro if you use Final Cut Pro X or a crop sensor camera;P

What amazes me is people complaining about this article when they could have clearly just ignored it just based on the title. It was pretty clear it was political.

They're called trolls.

Wow, where did all these trolls come from? Good on you Fstoppers. If people are afraid to speak out against bullying and lies even from the Whitehouse, then it will only get worse.

It's a wild stretch to think that what appears here matters one way or another to any larger issues. It's just fluff.

I hate articles like this. Stop pushing left wing politics, or any for that matter.

You do know that you're not required to read every article on this or any other site, right?

Yeah. Pushing the left wing bias of filmed events.

There's no bias in the facts but, of course, there is always a bias in its presentation. If nothing else, deciding what to report and what not to report is based on necessary bias. You can't report everything and shouldn't report nothing.

There is no left wing anything in this piece, although the headline is eye-catching it's apparently perfectly true.

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