Biden’s press office snubs local Atlanta newspaper during Braves World Series visit

WASHINGTON — The White House press office surprisingly snubbed Atlanta’s major newspaper Monday by banning two of its reporters from covering President Biden’s celebration of the Atlanta Braves’ World Series championship.

The stunning affront came about a week after Biden press officers fired four Orthodox Jewish reporters from a presidential event on hate crimes in another baffling access decision.

The Journal-Constitution’s Washington correspondent and a photographer sought unsuccessfully to attend the Braves event in the nearly 3,000 square foot East Room.

The newspaper was told only one person could go – meaning a sportswriter was the only Journal-Constitution employee admitted, despite requests for reconsideration due to the importance of the event to the community from Atlanta.

Politico’s West Wing Playbook first reported the exclusion. The Post has independently confirmed the details.

Adding to the significance of the day for Atlanta residents, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on the baseball team to have a “conversation” about changing its name just after the rally organized by Biden.

The exclusion was the latest flashpoint in a long-running fight between the White House and press advocates who want to restore media access to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House Correspondents Association tried to convince Biden’s team to reinstate press access standards allowing all White House reporters to attend major events – but were unsuccessful.

It’s unclear why the White House wouldn’t seek to host local reporters from a state Biden won less than 12,000 votes in 2020.

Major media outlets are routinely allowed to have multiple people at such events and reporters admitted to the East Room on Monday said there appeared to be enough space available to accommodate more press.

The White House snubbed Atlanta’s major newspaper by not allowing two of its reporters to cover Biden’s celebration of the Braves’ 2021 World Series.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

In fact, at least one reporter who did not respond was able to attend the event, meaning the White House did not verify that reporters were on the pre-approved list.

White House Correspondents’ Association president Tamara Keith, a reporter for NPR, said the association “continues to advocate that events in the East Room be open to the press.” say open to all reporters on the White House campus.

A White House official told the Post, “A sports correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution attended and covered today’s event for the newspaper. It’s long-standing protocol to allow one reporter per outlet to cover events in the East Room so the White House can accommodate as many news organizations as possible.

“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was called back last week and elected to send its sports correspondent to cover the event for the newspaper,” the official said.

Press screening for presidential events began during the COVID-19 pandemic, but dragged on long after the relatively small White House briefing room returned to full capacity in June 2021 – outrageting the press corps of the White House.

In June, 73 journalists representing nearly two-thirds of the briefing room seats signed a letter demanding that the large rooms be restored to their previous open press status. Journalists fear that the practice of press retention authorized with the president will continue in future administrations.

“Who’s blocked today may be different from who’s blocked tomorrow – and since access restrictions tend to persist, it’s a fight worth fighting,” wrote the Washington Post media critic, Erik Wemple, in a July column.

Former Correspondents’ Association president Tom DeFrank of the National Journal told the Post in June that he signed the letter because “[h]Having covered the White House since June 1968 as a Newsweek intern, I have seen a disturbing erosion of access that was once routine.

It’s unclear why the White House continued to pre-screen journalists allowed into the East Room and other locations such as an auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House.

It's unclear why the White House wouldn't seek to accommodate local reporters.
It’s unclear why the White House wouldn’t seek to accommodate local reporters.
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Some journalists believe that by pre-screening reporters, which requires the press to submit an electronic RSVP, the White House is able to shape the coverage of Biden and the variety of questions he is asked.

At one point, The Post, which published explosive reports linking the president to his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings, was barred from attending presidential events through the opaque RSVP process for seven months. The rotating daily press pool, of which The Post is a member, also attends presidential events and the pool is not determined by the White House.

The press corps strongly opposes pre-selection, and Correspondents’ Association representatives have urged the administration to revert to historical standards rather than picking the reporters who attend.

The June letter from the press denounced the lack of clarity of the process and said it was “antithetical to the concept of a free press”.

“Let’s be frank,” the letter said. “Our job is not to be liked, or to care whether or not you like what we are asking. The ability of journalists to interview the most powerful man in our government should not be discretionary…Any The notion that space is “limited” is not supported by the fact that every other president before Biden (including Trump) has allowed full access to the same spaces without us filling out a pre-access application form. ‘admission.

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