The White House has issued new rules requiring journalists to submit a letter to gain access to the briefing room and presidential events, and warning about unprofessional behavior. The new requirements mandate that reporters must work for “an organization whose principal business is news dissemination.” The change comes in the wake of repeated outbursts in the briefing room from reporters and criticism from journalists that the administration has not given fair representation in the briefing room.
The letter requires reporters to submit their physical address, a statement saying they have accessed the White House in the last six months and covered the White House “on a regular basis,” as well as proof of “accreditation by a press gallery in either the Supreme Court, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives.” Reporters will also have to state they have the willingness “to submit to any necessary investigation by the U.S. Secret Service to determine eligibility for access to the White House complex, where the Secret Service will determine eligibility based on whether the applicant presents a potential risk to the safety or security of the President, the Vice President, or the White House complex.”
The guidelines include a provision stating that journalists who have access to the White House maintain a “professional manner,” and not impede “events or briefings” on campus. Violators face the possibility of suspension. The White House expects that all hard pass holders will act in a professional manner while on White House grounds by respecting their colleagues, White House employees, and guests; observing stated restrictions on access to areas of the White House or credentialed events; and not impeding events or briefings on campus.
The new rules will take effect from July 31, and all current “hard passes,” which are used to gain access to the White House grounds and press briefings, will expire on that date. A federal appeals court ruled that journalist Brian Karem, who shared a heated exchange with Sebastian Gorka, did not have “fair notice” to have his credentials revoked.
An official told the New York Post that the rule change had been in the works “for more than a year” and is a product of “feedback of journalists covering the White House.” However, the White House has not immediately responded about why they are making the changes to pass requirements at this time.
Journalist Simon Ateba, who interrupted several White House press briefings after not being called on for months, claimed the new rules were due to his “presence.”
“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. “It appears that if you excel at your job, both the WHCA and the White House may work together to target you. This situation exacerbates the public’s lack of trust in the media and politicians in Washington.”