White House restricts journalists' access: Report

 May 8, 2023

The Biden White House is officially restricting access from opposition journalists who lack "professionalism" according to the administration's standards.

The guidelines are understood to be a response to African reporter Simon Ateba, who has been known to disrupt the ordinary give-and-take between largely Biden-friendly reporters and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

While the move is apparently aimed at marginalizing one particular journalist, it also underscores the gap between Biden's lofty promises of "transparency" and reality.

White House clamps down

All "hard passes" expire on July 31, and the new rules for getting hard passes are stricter. Journalists can also get temporary passes, but they only last a day.

The new criteria include covering the White House "on a regular basis,” and having accreditation to cover the Supreme Court or Congress.

The rules are a throwback to the Obama presidency and are likely to impact freelance and independent journalists the most.

Under the new rules, journalists could lose their passes if they are "unprofessional," a clear allusion to Ateba, who has caused a number of scenes in the briefing room while protesting favoritism from the press secretary. Journalists also must undergo Secret Service background checks.

“While I don’t feel upset that the White House is making changes due to my presence, it is ironic that these modifications come shortly after President Biden declared that journalism is not a crime on World Press Freedom Day," Ateba told the Daily Caller. 

Least transparent White House ever?

Biden's freewheeling predecessor, Donald Trump, was known to engage extemporaneously with hostile reporters whom he often disparaged.

By stark contrast, Biden has given few press conferences, and his events are known to be heavily vetted, despite the already heavy pro-Biden bias in the media.

At moments, Biden has inadvertently tipped his hand by exposing detailed note cards with questions he expects to receive in advance.

The White House took another step toward shutting down opposition media Monday by banning a New York Post reporter from an event without any explanation. The Post is known for its critical coverage of Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings.

Despite its new "rules," there doesn't seem to be any real rhyme or reason to the White House's dealings with the media. How fragile is Biden's public image that he can't handle a few questions?

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