WH admits forcing reporters to submit questions in advance amid end of Title 42

May 14, 2023

The Biden administration has never exactly been a paragon of transparency, but the new depths to which it has sunk to prevent the American people from learning the truth about the situation at the southern border were apparent when White House officials forced journalists this week to submit briefing questions in advance for pre-approval amid the end of Title 42, as Fox News reports.

Network correspondent Jacqui Heinrich brought the situation to light on Friday when her question regarding reports that a migrant child had died while in Department of Homeland Security custody went unanswered, as Hot Air notes.

Pre-screening required

Administration officials scheduled a virtual briefing in which certain reporters' questions – which had to be submitted in advance – were read aloud and answered.

Unsurprisingly, news that a migrant child had perished while in federal custody was of particular interest, and based on Heinrich's tweets about the briefing, it seems that her pre-written question – which was ignored – had to do with President Joe Biden's prior -- seemingly inconsistent -- stance on similar incidents that occurred during former President Donald Trump's tenure.

Specifically, Heinrich pointed out on Twitter that in May of 2019, Biden wrote, “Over the last year, six children have tragically died in US custody at the border. It's unacceptable. It's not who we are. And silence is complicity,” and she also referenced the mandatory written submission of questions in advance of the briefing.

Though White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ultimately did accept a precious few questions on the current crisis at the border, she provided no insight as to why Biden has not addressed the expiration of Title 42 or any response about the current number of unaccompanied minors in DHS custody.

Course correction declared

Heinrich later provided an update indicating that after the official briefing, the Department of Health and Human Services provided a statement in response to her request for information and also noted the administration's announcement of a change in course regarding pre-screened questions.

As Fox News reported, the administration announced that it has no further plans to pre-screen questions from journalists, and that what occurred Friday was an attempt to introduce a new system for managing such inquiries.

A DHS spokesperson reportedly told Fox News that officials had “tried a new system for the first time in an effort of transparency to allow reporters from across the country to ask administration officials questions on the record and on camera.”

The representative added, “We will be addressing this system and will consider other options in the future” and said that the agency would resume the “raise your hand” function for such events and permit questions to be asked by reporters without the requirement that they be submitted in advance.

Ongoing obfuscation

Though Friday's pre-screening of reporter questions was an especially egregious example of administration obfuscation regarding the border crisis, it is in keeping with an approach clearly designed to frustrate the journalistic process.

Earlier this month, Jean-Pierre was questioned by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy about the administration's decision to send 1,500 troops the border in anticipation of a deluge of arrivals upon the expiration of Title 42, and why such a move would be needed if, as has been claimed, the border is secure.

That prompted Jean-Pierre to hit back at Doocy, accusing him of trading in “dramatics,” yet another attempt to minimize the emergency that millions of Americans can see unfolding with their own eyes.

Though it is clear that the administration will continue trying whatever it can to disguise the truth of what the end of Title 42 is poised to unleash, the persistence of journalists such as Heinrich and Doocy will hopefully force at least some of the transparency the current administration cynically claims to be among its hallmarks.


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