White House Using New Press Rules to Dump Unfavorable Reporters

The Trump administration has instituted some problematic new rules when it comes to giving White House press passes. Reporters have to have been in the White House for 90 of the last 180 days (including weekends) to keep their credentials. That's an outrageous figure given that the press secretary hasn't even held a press briefing in two months.

That automatically takes a lot of journalists out of contention for press passes, so the White House has started granting "exceptions" to reporters for unspecified, arbitrary reasons. For example, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who has been critical of Trump, was denied his petition for an exception while some of his colleagues received it anyway.

However, even the exceptions are generally for short-term passes, meaning that the White House has the opportunity to dump access to reporters they don't like at short, regular intervals. It sure seems like all of this is a design to prevent whichever reporters it doesn't want having access from being on the premises.

Given Trump's adversarial attitude toward a free press, there's no reason to extend a benefit of the doubt to the White House for this move. The White House should not be handpicking which journalists have access based on their coverage, that is antithetical to everything the First Amendment is about.

For that reason, we urge Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to revert to the old rules and maintain WH press credentials for all journalists who haven't been showing up to the White House for those non-existent press briefings.

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