Joe Biden is taking flak from members of the mainstream media for excluding some of them from the White House press corps Christmas party — some say as punishment for bad coverage.
The Biden White House is being accused of being “petty” for excluding a number of journalists from the Dec. 8 and Dec. 13 soirees for the press. It is just another example of his attacks on the media.
As the New York Post reported, the exclusions are a “break” from Biden’s claim that he would “restore civility” to public life.
The holiday parties are big perks for the White House press corps. Not only can they bring a plus-one, they are often able to get a photo op with the president in the White House.
This year, the Post said its correspondents were excluded from the parties, along with writers from the Washington Examiner, Newmax and Salon. Each outlet has official White House press passes, but each has also published stories critical of the Biden administration. Producers and technicians from CBS and Fox News also were left out.
Amid Biden’s continued act of dodging the press, one reporter blasted Biden in comments to the Post.
“How many acts of petty blacklisting does this White House have to commit against accredited members of the news media before a consensus forms that President Biden is neither a champion of a free press, as he so frequently claims, nor a man of decency, as his supporters claim on his behalf?” the reporter said.
Another reporter said that his outlet had never failed to be invited to the events, even when George Bush was in office, and added that the issue isn’t just civility, but also “democracy.”
“Out of his mouth, Biden espouses that the free press is the bedrock of democracy and he supports a free and independent media and it’s important for us to make sure that governments are held accountable. But it only seems to apply for governments outside the United States,” the reporter said.
Several other reporters called the exclusions “punitive” and “partisan” and said they showed “weakness, not strength” because Biden is surrounding himself with yes men in the media.
The reporter added, “apparently this White House now has total disregard for protecting even the veneer of its promised transparency and respect for a truly free press.”
Liberal Salon writer Brian Karem delivered a cutting jab at Biden’s White House, saying, “What better way to pass on the tidings of blessings than to deny it to those who you dislike?”
New York Times reporter Peter Baker said he was surprised over the snubs.
“I don’t remember too many cases where working journalists who were there on a regular basis not getting invited,” Baker said. “But if I remember correctly, those who actively show up in the briefing room were usually invited and the harder cases came among those who weren’t actually part of the day-to-day press corps, such as columnists, editors, bureau chiefs and people who used to come in the past but were less involved in the coverage anymore.”
Some of these reporters were belatedly invited to the events after the Post asked the White House press office for a comment on its story.
Former President Donald Trump held one White House press party in 2018, but didn’t host one in 2019, after calling the press “fake news.” COVID put an end to such gatherings in 2020 and 2021.
This is not the first time the Biden White House has sought to punish members of the press. In June, the New York Post reported that reporters were chafing at the strange and ill-defined pre-screening process Biden’s press office had imposed on the White House press corps.
At the time, 68 veteran journalists sent a letter to the White House demanding that the pre-screening process be ended and the restrictions against reporters be lifted.
The pre-screening process was deemed “mysterious” because the White House Press Office refused to tell reporters what was involved, what the criteria were and how they could get on Biden’s good side to be invited to press events.
“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,” the letter said.
“Let us be candid,” the letter goes on. “Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask. Reporters’ 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,” the letter added. “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.”
In June of 2021, the Biden administration imposed an unprecedented gag order on the press, preventing them from discussing, investigating or asking questions about the leaks coming from the White House.
These reporters are right. If Biden continues to mistreat the press and the press does not have access to the president and his representatives, how can we have a free press? These restrictions are a true threat to the republic and a violation of our Constitution and its First Amendment.