68 Reporters Send Letter to Karine Jean-Pierre Slamming White House Over Limited Access

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Journalists of the White House Correspondents Association signed a letter to Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over the White House only inviting specific reporters to attend certain events on the campus.


“The current method of allowing a limited number of reporters into these events is not only restrictive and antithetical to the concept of a free press, but it has been done without any transparent process into how reporters are selected to cover these events. We are all left wondering who is making these decisions and what are the criteria on which they are based?” they said Thursday, according to The New York Post.

The letter was signed by everyone ranging from The Grio’s April Ryan to The Spectator’s Amber Athey, which shows that liberal and conservative media outlets are bothered by their restrictions. The Post’s Steven Nelson pointed out that Playboy’s Briain Karem wrote the request, and WHCA President Steven Portnoy was the first to put his signature down.

The reporters even acknowledged that the White House needs to stop using COVID-19 as an excuse, as the threat of the pandemic is not at the same level as it used to be.

“We appreciate that COVID-19 social distancing guidance played a role at first, but in the year and a half that Joe Biden has been president, and since such guidelines have been eased, we’ve never gotten an explanation as to why the areas that have traditionally been opened to all press remain restricted,” the letter said.


Rather shockingly, the letter also noted that the Trump administration, which was known for its contentious relationship with the press allowed “full access” to the typical venues where the president usually speaks on White House grounds. The beginning of the request specifically mentions the East Room and the South Court Auditorium as locations that traditionally allow every White House reporter to attend.

“A reporter’s ability to question the most powerful man in our government shouldn’t be discretionary. The administration’s continued efforts to limit access to the president cannot be defended,” they said. “Any notion that space is “limited” is not supported by the fact that every other president before Biden (including Trump) allowed full access to the very same spaces without making us fill out a request form prior to admittance.”

This moment of unity from these correspondents of varying political backgrounds clearly explains that there’s a transparency issue. The Biden administration has repeatedly struggled with conveying its goals to the American public, and limiting access to the media is not going to do them any favors.


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