After almost eliminating press conferences, the Trump administration’s campaign against journalists covering the White House has reached a new peak. On Wednesday, the administration revoked the hard passes of almost the entire White House press corps, the Washington Post reports.
After telling all six Post reporters that their hard passes were revoked, the administration then said they’d take requests for “exceptions,” veteran White House journalist Dana Milbank writes. The exceptions were granted for all of the other Post journalists besides Milbank.
From the Post:
The White House press office granted exceptions to the other six, but not to me. I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic. The move is perfectly in line with Trump’s banning of certain news organizations, including The Post, from his campaign events and his threats to revoke White House credentials of journalists he doesn’t like.
White House officials provided me no comment for the record.
Milbank points out that due to this change, nearly the entire press corps will be allowed to cover the White House only under these “exceptions,” which could be revoked at any time.
After the White House revoked journalist Jim Acosta’s press pass last year, a Trump-appointed judge ordered that it be restored. The judge described the decision to revoke Acosta’s pass as “shrouded in mystery.”
Now, the White House seems to have created a new standard that supposedly clears things up.
In response, it seems, the White House established a clear — if nearly impossible — standard: no credentials to any journalist who is not in the building on at least 90 out of the previous 180 days — in other words, seven of every 10 workdays. The White House wouldn’t provide numbers, but it appears most of the White House press corps didn’t qualify for credentials under the new standard, including regulars for The Post and the Associated Press.
As Milbank points out, the president is barely in the White House himself, and new White House policies around journalists have prevented many from attending events in recent months. That’s one reason many do not meet the high quota of days.
Milbank also points out that this policy change could mean that some of these journalists will lose their income source.
Though the culling properly eliminated some (including at The Post) who no longer needed credentials, the victims hurt most were freelance camera operators and technicians who now could lose their livelihood.
Milbank and others who were not granted exceptions will now be given something called a six-month pass, which he says doesn’t offer the same access as a hard pass.
Just another day in our increasingly authoritarian America!