The White House has released new requirements governing who will be allowed in the briefing room and presidential events, as well as mandating professional behavior.
The rules require journalists to submit a letter attesting to their employment and news dissemination organization in order to gain access to the White House grounds. All current hard passes will expire on July 31.
The letter requires reporters to provide their physical address, a statement saying they’ve accessed the White House in the last six months, proof of accreditation from a press gallery, and a willingness to submit to any necessary investigation by the US Secret Service.
The White House also warned journalists that they must maintain a professional manner while on White House grounds, and any violation of this rule could result in the suspension of their hard pass.
The new rules follow a series of outbursts in the briefing room from reporters, as well as criticism from the press corps over unfair access to White House events. Journalists have called out White House press secretary Karine Jean–Pierre for not giving fair representation in the briefing room, and the Biden administration has been accused of not providing enough access to events.
The Trump administration also attempted to temporarily ban several reporters who had confrontations with administration staff. A federal appeals court ruled that journalist Brian Karem, who shared a heated exchange with Sebastian Gorka, did not have “fair notice” to have his credentials revoked.
Simon Ateba, who has interrupted several White House press briefings after not being called on for months, claimed the new rules are due to his “presence”.
“While I don’t feel upset that the White House is making changes due to my presence, it is ironic that these modifications come shortly after President Biden declared that journalism is not a crime on World Press Freedom Day. It appears that if you excel at your job, both the WHCA and the White House may work together to target you. This situation exacerbates the public’s lack of trust in the media and politicians in Washington,” Ateba told the Daily Caller.
The White House has not commented on why the rules are being changed at this time, though an official told the New York Post that the rule change had been in the works “for more than a year” and is a product of “feedback of journalists covering the White House.”
The release of the new rules has been met with mixed reactions from the press, with some arguing that they are necessary to ensure safety and professionalism, while others are concerned that it could limit access to the White House. Regardless, the new requirements are sure to shape the landscape of White House coverage in the months to come.