Nearly 70 Reporters Blast Biden In Letter For Restricting Free Press

A group of about 70 reporters called on the Biden administration to stop restricting the press in an open letter this week.

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They pointed to the Biden administration’s practices of limiting access to certain, hand picked outlets, saying the actions “cannot be defended.”

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They said that he has been more restrictive than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

“Let us be candid,” the letter says. “Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask. 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. 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.”

Read the full letter below:

We once again respectfully request the Biden administration – without exception – re-open all of the traditional venues for presidential remarks at the White House, including the East Room and the South Court Auditorium, for any reporter admitted to the White House 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?

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.

For any reporter not in the “pool” that covers the president, open press remarks represent the only time most of the reporters who cover the president might be positioned to ask him a question – or interact with him at all.

The continued inability of the White House to be candid and transparent about the selection process for reporters attending his remarks undermines President Biden’s credibility when he says he is a defender of the First Amendment.

The incongruity of these restrictions underscores the belief by many reporters that the administration seeks to limit access to the president by anyone outside of the pool, or anyone who might ask a question the administration doesn’t want to answer.

Let us be candid. Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask. 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. 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.

Thank you for your attention to these ahistorical problems. We ask you to see to it that the protocols are changed back to the access norms of which we are accustomed.

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