It is common knowledge that placement in the White House briefing room is strategic; major outlets have long been given priority over smaller press outlets to ask questions during any press briefing. The practice shows a bias on behalf of the White House towards outlets that will parrot their agendas and talking points.
Journalist Cutis Houck calls it an “esoteric & secretive selection process for how the White House press offices picks & chooses which reporters are allowed to attend White House events.”
During Thursday’s White House Press Briefing, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson grilled White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about an alleged “blacklist” for press events biased against certain media outlets.
.@NYPost's @StevenNelson10 calls out the esoteric & secretive selection process for how the White House press offices picks & chooses which reporters are allowed to attend White House events, leading to "a blacklist where certain large media outlets, such as my own" are kept out pic.twitter.com/oHnOdrgoEZ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 16, 2022
Nelson took advantage of his chance to ask a question to prod for answers on the idea that the White House is selective and biased towards certain media outlets.
“For more than a year now the White House press office has been having events in the stateroom, state dining room, the executive office building,” Nelson noted. “There’s a process where people are selected and able to go into these presidential events where the president often takes questions.”
Nelson continued by saying, “The correspondence association has tried in vain to figure out how this process works, and over time it has kind of morphed into a kind of ‘blacklist’ where certain large media outlets such as my own are—,” at which point he was abruptly cut off.
“Blacklist?” Jean-Pierre asked.
Nelson noted that he represents one of the largest publications in the country, and he had not “been selected since November.”
“That’s a jump forward to a blacklist,” Jean-Pierre said. “But I’m listening.”
Nelson then pointed out that his was not the only outlet that had been unfairly banned from certain events.
“I didn’t know that,” was the simple response from Jean-Pierre.
Nelson referenced a recent revelation that the White House Correspondent’s Association (WHCA) was looking to abandon its old methods and adopt a new selection methodology; he prodded further for an answer regarding the selection process.
Nelson asked, “I was hoping—I know you’re new in this position—but you could perhaps explain how the selection works?”
“I actually don’t know the process that you’re speaking of,” Jean-Pierre responded. “Blacklisting is a very strong word to use.”
Jean-Pierre said, “We try to make sure, to do our best to make sure that press gets to hear from the president directly… It is important for the American people.”
Jean-Pierre noted that she and Steve Portnoy, the head of the WHCA, would be speaking in the days ahead, and she would speak to him about this.
Once again, the administration dodges important questions to expose the protection of the leadership bias in the White House.