Some of the more well known White House correspondents are taking exception to the Biden administration failing to live up to the ideals of a free press.
In a letter to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the well-established journalists urged a return to traditional “access norms” at the Biden White House, stressing that this is not the first such request.
“We once again respectfully request the Biden administration – without exception-re-open all of the traditional venues for presidential remarks at the White House, including the East Room and the South Court Auditorium, for any reporter admitted to the White House campus,” the letter begins.
Nearly 70 journalists have signed the letter below to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre protesting press-access restrictions in certain areas of the White House campus that were previously open to all reporters admitted onto the grounds. pic.twitter.com/seLQQyuUZF
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) June 30, 2022
Signed by 68 journalists, the letter cites areas of the White House that have become off limits and complains of a lack of transparency from President Biden’s administration.
“The current method of allowing a limited number of reporters into these events is not only restrictive and antithetical to the concept of a free press, but it has been done without any transparent process into how reporters are selected to cover these events,” the letter added. “We are all left wondering who is making these decisions and what are the criteria on which they are based?”
The letter states that the White House has not been transparent with the WHCA about the selection criteria and even put former President Donald Trump ahead of Biden in accommodating the media.
“The continued inability of the White House to be candid and transparent about the selection process for reporters attending his remarks undermines President Biden’s credibility when he says he is a defender of the First Amendment,” the journalists said.
“Let us be candid. Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask,” they concluded. “A reporter’s ability to question the most powerful man in our government shouldn’t be discretionary. The administration’s continued efforts to limit access to the president cannot be defended. Any notion that space is ‘limited’ is not supported by the fact that every other president before Biden (including Trump) allowed full access to the very same spaces without making us fill out a request form prior to admittance.”
The letter was drafted by former Playboy “reporter” Brian Karem, who is now with Salon, according to the New York Post, and was signed by CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy, president of the WHCA. Among the others who signed the letter are New York Times’s Peter Baker, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Fox News’s Jacqui Heinrich.
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