(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The White House released new guidelines for journalists and how they must act in order to gain access to the briefing room and other presidential events, potentially in violation of the First Amendment.
The rules specifically warn reporters about “unprofessional behavior,” and also require journalists to submit information regarding their employment to the White House before entry to ensure they work for “an organization whose principal business is news dissemination.”
According to the Daily Caller, current passes used to access briefings expire on July 31.
All journalists will be required to submit their physical address, a statement saying they previously covered the White House “on a regular basis,” and proof of “accreditation by a press gallery in either the Supreme Court, U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives.”
The new requirements also demanded that reporters be willing to “submit to any necessary investigation by the U.S. Secret Service to determine the eligibility for access to the White House Complex, where secret service will determine eligibility based on whether the applicant presents a potential risk to the safety or security of the President, Vice President or the White House complex.”
Any journalist who does not maintain a “professional manner” faces threat of suspension after a single written warning. The statement did not provide a definition or example of what a violation may look like.
The press room has seen several outbursts from reporters in recent days as they struggle to pull cogent, sensible answers from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba recently called out Jean-Pierre as being “a bad fit” for her position, due to her seeming inability to answer basic questions.
Other journalists called out White House bureaucrats for favoring other journalists at both presidential briefings, where Biden has cheat sheets ordering him to call on specific journalists, and for giving unfair access to White House events.
In a statement, White House officials explained that the changes were in the works for almost a year and come from the “feedback of journalists covering the White House.”
Journalists took a dramatically different approach during the Trump administration, celebrating disruptions, with reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta and Playboy‘s Brian Karem even getting into physical alterations with White House staff.
After the Trump administration tried to revoke Acosta’s press pass, CNN sued in court and was able to successfully have it reinstated under the First Amendment.