The heat is on the White House as over 400 reporters have been purged from presidential press briefings following the latest round of rules for journalists.
According to Politico, 442 reporters were stripped of their “hard pass” credentials during the past three months, revealing a 31 percent decrease in journalists in the White House press briefing room.
The White House stated that only one reporter was denied a new hard pass with the new requirements. However, hundreds of other journalists had their passes revoked due to failure to meet the criteria.
A press pass now requires full-time employment in a business primarily dedicated to news dissemination, have a physical address in the D.C. area, and attending at least one White House event over the past six months or work there over the past three months.
Those managing the press briefings have the option to eject journalists that are too argumentative or often interrupt press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. This has already occurred with simulated journalist Simon Ateba being warned he would be kicked out if he didn’t stay quiet.
Not everyone agrees with the new rules; Matthew Anthony Harper, White House correspondent for InterMountain Christian News, has obtained legal representation to express his disdain. “The requirement of accreditation by a press gallery in either the U.S. Congress or the Supreme Court appears to be an effort to purge smaller, regional news outlets who cannot afford enough reporters to continually cover both the White House and another branch of government,” they stated.
The new press requirements are seen as intimidating by numerous other news sources, sparking fear of further anti-media sentiment.
“The decision by the White House to reduce access to the press by purging reporters is yet another attack on free speech and efforts to create transparency within the government,” said Vox reporter Aaron Rupar, “It’s a frightening move to strip away press freedom and prevent reporters from doing the job they’re meant to do.”
The new press restrictions are being rooted out during a period of increased tension between the White House and news outlets. President Trump has been vocal in his disdain for certain media outlets and, just this past week, called Fox News a “shadow of its former self” in a series of tweets aimed at the news corporation.
It remains to be seen how the White House will handle the press going forward, but the fear and intimidation garnered by this mass purging of journalists has been nationwide news for good reason.