Some conservatives have alleged that reporters who cover the White House are going too easy on President Joe Biden’s administration. However, Biden might have just given them something to complain about.
The Washington Examinerreported this weekend that the Biden administration will begin charging journalists who are not part of the designated press pool a $170 COVID-19 testing fee every time they visit the White House on assignment. The pricey requirement could effectively “ban” smaller media outlets from the White House, as one reporter complained.
Anders Hagstrom serves as the White House correspondent for the Daily Caller, and he used the proposed COVID-19 testing policy to highlight the mainstream media’s double standard regarding how presidential administrations treat the press.
“I remember all of DC media getting up in arms when the Trump administration banned single reporters from the White House,” Hagstrom tweeted on Friday.
Smaller outlets are in trouble
The Daily Caller journalist went on to stress how the fee could impact small-scale media organizations, adding, “If this goes into effect, it would effectively ban multiple entire outlets.”
Hagstrom wasn’t alone in voicing criticism over the proposed testing fees. Daily Beast correspondent Max Tani also took issue with the idea of essentially charging reporters to do their jobs.
“I think part of ‘bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room’ is not making it prohibitively expensive for smaller outlets with tight budgets to go to the White House,” Tani tweeted.
The Daily Beast Washington bureau chief and CNN political analyst Jackie Kucinich made crystal clear that she wasn’t impressed with the idea. “Paying a fee to keep the American public informed during a pandemic,” she tweeted, adding sarcastically, “This is really a terrific look.”
“$170 a pop?”
Kaiser Health News reporter Rachana Pradhan took to social media to question why the testing fee was so substantial, tweeting, “I have a lot of questions here but first: What kind of COVID test is the White House using these days where it costs $170 a pop???”
While the White House Correspondents’ Association failed to provide comment to the Examiner on the brewing issue, one of its members was quoted anonymously by the Washington Post as predicting that the COVID-19 testing policy would create “a means test for White House coverage.”
Interestingly, the organization was far less reticent about making an issue over certain decisions with regard to the press that were made by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
In a statement issued by the organization on Jan. 12, it accused the Trump administration of committing “an assault on the First Amendment” after Voice of America reporter Patsy Widakuswara was reassigned from the White House travel pool.