Journalists from the White House Correspondents Association sent a letter to Karine Jean-Pierre expressing concern at the White House’s insistence on limiting the number of reporters invited to certain events.
“The current system of only allowing a small number of reporters to attend these events is restrictive and antithetical to the idea of a free press. It has also been done without transparency into how these reporters are chosen to cover these events. According to The New York Post, they stated Thursday that they were left wondering “who is making these decisions?”
Everyone signed the letter, including April Ryan from The Grio and Amber Athey from The Spectator. This shows that both conservative and liberal media outlets don’t like their restrictions. Steven Nelson of The Post pointed out that Playboy’s Briain Karam had written the request and Steven Portnoy, President of the WHCA, was the first one to sign it.
Tonight, 68 White House journalists asked @PressSec to end the mysterious prescreening of reporters let into President Biden’s events, calling it ‘antithetical to the concept of a free press’ https://t.co/X5CN1qBL3m pic.twitter.com/v2SqOoBazQ
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) June 30, 2022
Reporters even admitted that COVID-19 is no longer an excuse for the White House since the threat of pandemics is not as high as it was in the past.
The letter stated that while we appreciate the COVID-19 social distancing guidance playing a role initially since such guidelines have been relaxed, we have never received an explanation for why areas that were traditionally open to all media remain closed to us.
Surprisingly, the letter noted that Trump’s administration, known for its contentious relationship with the media, allowed “full access”, as the White House is well-known, to all the venues where the president speaks. At the beginning of the request, the East Room is specifically mentioned as the location that allows all White House reporters to attend.
“A reporter shouldn’t have the right to ask the most powerful man in government. They stated that the administration’s efforts to restrict access to the president can’t be justified. “Any notion of space being “limited” cannot be supported by the fact every previous president (including Trump), allowed full access to these very same spaces without requiring us to fill out a request form before admittance.
This moment of unity between these correspondents from different political backgrounds clearly shows that there is a transparency problem. Biden’s administration has struggled repeatedly to communicate its goals to Americans, and restricting access to the media will not help.