From CNN REPORTS:
A White House official apologized Monday after a low-flying Boeing 747 spotted above the Manhattan skyline frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings. Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty. The huge aircraft, which functions as Air Force One when the president is aboard, was taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Much has already been said about the sheer stupidity of keeping NYC in the dark about the nature of the flight. So, instead of jumping on that ride, I’ll follow the money.
According to an Associated Press story, the White House took Air Force One for a drive to update its file photos of the Presidential plane near the Statue of Liberty.
Bloomberg.com reports that an Air Force spokesperson estimated the cost of the publicity shot of the 747 and two F-16 fighter jets at $328,835.
The Huffington Post makes a more conservative estimate**, using Government Accounting Office (GAO) to calculate the bill at somewhere between $27, 500 and $215,000.
President Obama’s plan for America includes a hefty section on technology which promises that he and VP Joe Biden will “…use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks.”
Technology could have gone a long way to save alot of taxpayer dough. Haven’t these people ever heard of Photoshop?
Actually, my photographer friends will cry foul at this, andquite honestly, the journalist in me can’t advocate altering –or rather inventing–reality. I can, however, ask why this photo was even necessary. If the White House was updating its file photos, doesn’t that suggest that it already has older shots of AF-ONE next to Lady Liberty?
When belts are tightening and when the government has already promised taxpayer-generated funds to preserving rodent habitats and tattoo removal, updating publicity photos should be on the long list of activities that are put on hold until the halcyon days return.
**I couldn’t pass by an opportunity to use “conservative” to describe the Huffington Post.