Press Corps continues to WHINE about lack of access

From the New York Times:

The protocols that underpin the relationship between the news media and the president might seem arcane to many Americans. But press advocates say these traditions, even in the age of Twitter, ensure fundamental tenets of democracy: historical record and access to information.

“The American people deserve to have someone stand up and be accountable for the work of the president and the White House every day,” said Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary for President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s. “I think any White House needs to explain its position and reasoning in more than 140 characters.”

Many journalists also said that the new administration should retain the so-called protective pool — a group of journalists that travels with the president whenever he goes outside the White House, and through which he can communicate with the public during an emergency or crisis.

“We’re not asking to be at his dinner table with him,” said Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which coordinates the pool. “We just want to be nearby in case something happens.”

Veteran journalists point to the presence of a pool reporter with President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, as an example of providing a witness to history in a matter of urgent national interest. The pool’s presence ensures timely reporting on the president’s activities and essentially “protects” the ability to deliver coverage should something unexpected occur.

But there is acknowledgment on both sides of the lectern that some re-examination of the system is warranted, especially at a time when news organizations, which must pay their way to follow the president, are increasingly hamstrung by budget constraints.

“The question really should be, why do you need a protective pool when everybody has cellphones?” said Marlin Fitzwater, who was the press secretary under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. “When you have a president who can operate a tweet and reach 28 million people from the driveway of any building in America, you don’t really need 14 people sitting there and watching him all night long.” (Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, has about 18 million followers.)

Mr. Mason said that, since the election, the correspondents’ association and Mr. Trump’s team had “made a lot of progress in forming a protective pool” and that he was confident Mr. Trump would allow reporters to accompany him on Air Force One once he became president.

Mr. Trump’s team has floated the possibility of other changes as well. In his radio interview, Mr. Priebus hinted that the Trump administration might assume control of the seating assignments in the briefing room. The correspondents’ association has decided seating assignments since 1981, in large part because administrations of both parties did not want even the appearance of favoritism in determining press access.


Written by Fossten✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾᴵᴬᴺ♔

Strong advocate of Jeffersonian Democracy. Plays golf and video games. Resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where he will live out the rest of his days unless God picks him up bodily and puts him somewhere else.


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