A lengthy article in the Daily Caller slammed President Joe Biden for not being available to the press and for his practice of using a list of “approved journalists” to call on for questions on the “rare” occasions he holds a conference.
The Caller noted that “White House correspondents said they are “disgusted” and that the practice is “clearly rigged” to shield the president from hard-hitting questions.
Reportedly, President Biden used a list of “10 pre-selected White House correspondents from left-leaning, establishment outlets” when fielding questions at Wednesday’s press conference.
The presser was the first press conference with journalists in months. Journalists representing approximately 100 news outlets were in attendance — few had the opportunity to voice their questions.
According to the Daily Caller, many correspondents left the press conference angry. They accused the “White House of doing a ‘disservice’ to the press and the American public by allowing only a select pool of journalists to ask questions.”
Biden has held fewer press conferences with journalists than his recent predecessors. The New York Post reported that Biden’s fielding questions from reporters, averaging 0.8 per month, is about 1/3 as often as Trump, less than half as often as Obama, about 1/3 as often as G.W. Bush and Clinton and only about 1/4 as often as G. H. Bush.
Washington Examiner White House correspondent Christian Datoc was one of the reporters who chided the president for his “lack of press conferences” and “press freedom.” The Examiner reported that the problems have grown “to a greater degree than previous administrations.”
“Datoc told the Daily Caller: “Just because you’re in the room, doesn’t really mean you’re in the conversation. It’s understandable the President leans on the same tv, wires, and legacy outlets in his press conferences, as they have the largest reach. The only way for more outlets and reporters to get opportunities to question the President is if he holds more press conferences, something we all hope the White House will commit to now that the midterms are over.”
Datoc, who has worked as a White House correspondent for two leading news outlets, added:
“I think the President did a disservice by not taking questions from more reporters in the room. The reporting staff at the White House Press Corps did itself a disservice by falling into the trap of the same reporters asking as many questions as they want because that makes us look amatuer-ish and it makes the President look better.”
Datoc continued: “They always favor the pool; the pool gets the best seats, the pool gets the best opportunity of asking questions, the pool gets their questions answered more than anyone.”
Sean Spicer, a former White House press secretary under Trump, accused Biden of being controlled by his staffers:
“Biden is given “the list, [and] he makes it very clear that the staff made the decision as to who will be called on and who won’t.”
Spicer added that Biden’s press conferences “are much more scripted, and they clearly don’t want to take a question from anybody who’s going to challenge them.”
The Daily Caller reported that one correspondent noted that Biden’s “list” was a way of “controlling the conversation.” The correspondent criticized the administration for not allowing there to be a “real back and forth … there are no … followups.”
The angry correspondent added: “Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the Biden administration when it comes to press freedom are empty. The Biden administration, the President, the secretary of state, even the Justice Department, who have espoused all of these lasting principles about upholding press freedom around the world, but they forget that they are supposed to do it inside the United States as well.”
Another correspondent blasted Biden, saying:
“Biden’s press conference was a complete charade made to further blind the American public to their lies. Every single reporter that got to ask a question was pre-selected and came from a major, liberal, corporate outlet.”
The correspondent added: Fox News, which is the main right-leaning outlet that usually gets called on, didn’t even make the list. Few substantive questions were asked, and the whole press briefing was an incestuous liberal orgy, all made to stroke Biden’s ego. I’m disgusted at the current state of things and hope reporters from smaller outlets will rise up to ensure that the President is subject to more hard-hitting questions that the American public wants to hear.”
Others criticized White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for rarely calling on journalists known for asking tough questions.”
Another claimed that only a “few reporters are picked or chosen to ask questions while others are not, and the White House won’t say why. Many of those questions are sent in advance to the press secretary who then reads answers from their binder.”
Pavlovic Today White House correspondent Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer claimed that Jean-Pierre is “stonewalling” her, saying, “Independent American quality journalism matters and I am asking Karine Jean-Pierre to show me equal respect she is giving to CNN, NBC and other media she favors over The Pavlovic Today.”
When the Daily Caller correspondent pressed the White House on “why the president has a list, and what determines which reporters get on the list,” the White House principal deputy press secretary said, “Eh, not sharing. I don’t have anything to share with you on that.”
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