Trump has been battling the fake news and bias of mainstream media ever since the beginning of his presidential campaign.
Now, he’s taken a huge step in limiting their power to shape narratives through slander and lies!
The White House has rolled out new press release standards led by Sarah Sanders that are limiting access to many mainstream journalists.
Check out this breaking news that hit Twitter:
The Washington Post commented on the White House's new standards for press releases:
The White House has implemented new rules that it says will cut down on the number of journalists who hold “hard” passes, the credentials that allow reporters and technicians to enter the grounds without seeking daily permission.
The new policy has been met with some confusion and even worry among journalists, some of whom suspect that the ultimate aim is to keep critics in the press away from the White House and President Trump.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders explicitly denied that, saying the changes were prompted by security concerns, not to punish journalists. “No one’s access is being limited,” she said Wednesday night.
Under procedures announced in March and implemented over the past few weeks, journalists will qualify to renew their hard passes only if they have entered the White House grounds at least 50 percent of the time in the 180 days before renewal, effectively once every other day. If they fall short of this, their hard passes will not be renewed.
A nonrenewal doesn’t preclude journalists from entering the White House entirely, but it does subject them to a more cumbersome process. Without a hard pass, they must apply each time they want access on a daily, weekly or six-month basis. Hard passes are valid for two years.
Sanders said the new measures were prompted by the U.S. Secret Service’s concern about the proliferation of hard passes, particularly over the past three years. It’s unclear exactly how many journalists hold hard passes, but White House officials say there could be as many as a thousand in existence.
Salon also had the following to say:
The White House imposed new rules on reporters’ press access that some journalists say may disqualify “almost the entire White House press corps.”
The White House press office implemented a new policy this week that aims at cutting down the number of journalists who can have a “hard pass,” a two-year press pass that allows reporters entry to the White House grounds, The Washington Post reported. Under the new rules, only journalists who have entered the White House grounds at least 90 days of the last 180 can renew their hard pass. Reporters who do not have a hard pass must apply for a new pass each time they need access. Temporary press passes are issued on a daily, weekly and six-month basis.
The new rules were announced in March and came after the White House revoked CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass over a combative exchange with President Trump at a news conference. A Trump-appointed federal judge ordered the White House to restore Acosta’s press pass, noting that the White House did not go through any formal process before making the decision.
Sanders denied that the new policy was related to Acosta and claimed that “no one’s access is being limited” under the new rules. She said that the White House Correspondents’ Association was consulted on the new policy.
But the Post’s Dana Milbank points out that Sanders failed to mention that she went ahead with the policies “over objections” from both the White House Correspondents’ Association and numerous news outlets.
Columbia Journalism Review also commented:
In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the White House revoked the press passes of a significant chunk of the Washington press corps because they didn’t meet a new standard, according to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. Under the new rules, rolled out earlier this year, in order to qualify for the highest level of access—known as a “hard pass”—journalists had to be present in the White House for at least 90 days out of a 180-day period. According to Milbank, virtually the entire press corps failed to meet this new test, including all six of the Post’s White House correspondents. Media outlets then had to apply for exceptions to cover their senior journalists, or settle for six-month passes, which don’t allow as much access.
The Post applied for and was granted exceptions for its White House correspondents, Milbank says, but he was not given one. “I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic,” he wrote on Wednesday. “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.” Milbank noted that, since dozens of senior correspondents didn’t meet the new standards either, “they all serve at the pleasure of Press Secretary Sarah Sanders” and
“therefore, in theory, can have their credentials revoked any time they annoy Trump or his aides.” (The White House press secretary told the Post the move was a result of security concerns, not a desire to crack down on specific journalists.)
Some seemed concerned that the new rules are an attempt to exert more direct control over the White House press corps, after an incident involving CNN reporter Jim Acosta in November. Acosta’s press pass was revoked following a contentious press conference in which the CNN reporter repeatedly asked the president questions about immigration policy that Trump refused to answer, and then refused to hand over the microphone when an aide tried to take it from him. Later that day, Acosta tried to access the White House in the usual way and was told his “hard pass” had been revoked because of his behavior. Sanders later released a statement saying the CNN reporter’s pass had been withdrawn “until further notice.”
CNN went to court to seek an injunction ordering the White House to return Acosta’s pass, and won. The media company and a number of other organizations that filed briefs in the case argued that the First Amendment protected the media’s right to cover the White House, and that this right couldn’t be abridged without due process. Judge Timothy Kelly agreed with the latter part of that argument, and said the Trump administration had failed to show why Acosta’s press pass was being revoked, or, in fact, that any process had been followed at all. “Whatever process occurred within the government is still so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me at oral argument who made the initial decision to revoke Mr. Acosta’s press pass,” he wrote.
Now, with its new standards for performance and most of the press corps holding passes that have only been issued as “exceptions,” the White House has a structure in place that could allow it to remove whoever it wishes to remove. That wouldn’t necessarily override First Amendment protection for press access (which Kelly didn’t rule on), but in the short term it gives the Trump administration new levers with which to control the press corps. Some argue that access to the White House is already almost meaningless, since press briefings are few and far between (there hasn’t been an on-camera briefing for 58 days, a new record) and what briefings there are often involve the White House press secretary and/or the president shutting down journalist questions and in many cases outright lying about various details of the administration’s behavior or plans.