Paparazzi photographer Mark Wilkins used to stalk movie stars like Shia LaBeouf, who once famously threw a cup of coffee on him. He's now taken to following White House aides instead.Last week, he stationed himself outside the Newseum, where Conway was speaking at a conference, to snap pictures of her as she left. “When she was walking in front of The Willard, they treated her like a rock star,” Wilkins told Politico.Wilkins also sometimes sits outside of Spicer’s house in his car, waiting for a shot he can sell to the tabloids. “I’m going to try to work on him and get him at church,” said Wilkins. ...The Daily Mail pays photographers a daily rate to sit outside the Kalorama home of Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, tracking them as they come and go, sometimes in their gym clothes, two industry sources said.
This is not normal.
Movie stars might not enjoy the paparazzi treatment, but at least they know when they set out to become movie stars that tree-climbing photographers packing three-foot telephoto lenses come with the territory. White House staffers, however, do not usually attract this kind of attention.
"This is nothing I ever sought or expected," Conway told Politico.
There is, of course, a big difference between paparazzi photographers and news reporters. Fact-checking Conway's imaginary "Bowling Green massacre" is not the same as inviting the world to gawk at her in a swimsuit on a family vacation, as the Daily Mail tabloid did shortly after the election.
But people tend to lump "the media" into one big blob or to focus on their least-favorite elements when they hear the term.
"The media is not one thing," Michael Milburn, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, told me earlier this month, when I asked him why people report so little trust in the press. "If you just say 'the media,' liberals think, 'Oh, Fox News. They're a bunch of liars.' And conservatives say, 'Oh, the lamestream media. They're a bunch of liars.' "
It's not a stretch to think that the photographer parked outside Spicer's home might make the White House press secretary just a little more irritable when he fields questions from CNN and the New York Times. That wouldn't be fair to journalists, and it certainly wouldn't excuse all of the Trump administration's hostility toward the media. But it would be human nature — and perfectly understandable.