President Biden is facing backlash from the White House press corps for “sneaky” exclusion of reporters from traditional presidential media Christmas parties.
A ostensibly break from Biden’s promise to restore “civility” to public life, a number of journalists — many who believe they were fired for covering “naughty” rather than “nice” — on Dec. 8 They did not get invitations to attractive parties. For TV teams and other press on December 13.
The festivities are a great perk for media covering the White House, as attendees can bring a guest and pose with the president, usually in the Great Rooms on the main floor of the White House, munching on eggnog.
The Post, which published explosive documents from first-born son Hunter Biden’s laptop, was among those denied — but received a delayed invitation Monday night after seeking comment for this article.
A veteran White House reporter told The Post, “This is how little blacklisting the White House has to put against credentialed members of the media because, as he often does, President Biden is a champion of the free press. no consensus is formed that it is not. Is he not as decent a man as his supporters claim on his behalf?”
Another veteran White House correspondent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their store was at least invited to the George W. Bush administration’s Christmas parties, and after repeated problems with press access, it’s important to see the criticism in a broader context. need Under Biden.
“It’s not just civility. “This is really about democracy,” the reporter said.
“In his own words, Biden says that a free press is a cornerstone of democracy, and that he supports a free and independent media and that it’s important to us to hold governments accountable. But that’s only for governments outside of the United States.” appears to be used,” said the longtime reporter.
The reporter added: “This guest list is an example of how the White House is doing its job exactly as the president says it does, or punishes journalists as he supports it. This, in my view, is pure hypocrisy.”
Another veteran reporter put it this way: “It’s a sign of weakness, not strength, to deal with minor party holiday proposals… this White House seems to have a total disregard for the transparency and respect for a truly free press that it’s promised right now.
Journalists from a wide range of news outlets with permanent seats in the White House briefing room were not invited, and the White House did not say how the guest list was compiled.
A White House press secretary said: “We are delighted to welcome journalists to the White House for the first time in five years over the holidays. We have tried to be as inclusive as possible and expect to receive hundreds of reporters from over 150 outlets.”
Some news outlets with Democratic-leaning opinion sections told The Post they were not invited, though reporters from conservative-leaning newsrooms appeared to be disproportionately affected.
Most of the journalists who were initially excluded – some were invited at the last minute on Monday – will rarely be invited to press briefings by press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre and will be effectively blacklisted for presidential events through 2021. – backward secret preview process.
Other influencers have caused problems for the press this year, including with public complaints about reopening access to events or questions in the briefing room for Jean-Pierre.
Veteran reporter and author Brian Karem, writing for the left-leaning Salon, quipped, “There’s a better way to report favors than to deny them to people you don’t like.”
Karem drafted a letter of protest to the press corps in June, strongly demanding that reporters stop previewing Biden events. Journalists occupying two-thirds of the seats in the briefing room signed this statement.
“I take it as a great compliment that I don’t like this administration as much as before. I wish the administration all the best this holiday. Best wishes to everyone,” Karem told The Post. doesn’t apply to all of us.”
Former President Trump hosted a press Christmas party in the first year of his presidency, but did not pose for photos, and has opted not to host another in 2018 and 2019, as he has dismissed the press as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.” ” COVID-19 prevented celebrations in 2020 and 2021.
New York Times correspondent Peter Baker, who has covered the White House since the Clinton administration, said there is often at least a scramble to be invited to the Christmas party, but White House reporters are usually accepted.
“I can’t remember many instances where working journalists who were there regularly weren’t invited, but I wouldn’t swear,” Baker told The Post.
“My recollection is that it’s often a bit of an issue of who gets invited and who doesn’t, so it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison without hard numbers,” Baker said.
“But if I remember correctly, those who actively came to the briefing room were usually invited, and the most difficult jobs were among those who were not part of the daily press corps, such as commentators, editors, bureau chiefs. and those who came before, but now less in coverage people involved.
Baker said the White House may have tried to limit attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but party guests must be tested beforehand.
Some of the disgruntled journalists this year received a disappointing message.
John Gizzi, a Newsmax reporter who has covered the White House since 2003, told The Post that he didn’t get an invitation this year, but he fondly remembers going to presidential Christmas parties — bringing nearly a dozen family members, including one. time
“My wife really liked it [first] “I have to share this with others,” he said. So, thanks to her, I was able to bring my mother and father, her two sisters, her sister-in-law, her niece and the husband of one of her sisters,” recalls Gizzi.
As far as Gizzi knows, all reporters who previously had permanent press badges were invited. But Gizzi said that halfway through the Obama administration, he was removed from the guest list and went without an invitation for two years.
The longtime briefing room figure was brought back to the invitation list, with Obama press secretary Josh Earnest talking about bringing in pro-Obama actress Jane Jackson as a guest.
“Do I have any hard feelings? No, because that meant I had to be a reporter who was angry at President Obama for two years… and then had that pro forma party and then Trump with nothing,” Gizzy. said. “So who am I to complain about any president after all the good memories there? If they invite me this year, it would be great to do it.”