A Right-Of-Center network’s reporter is getting the boot, despite the drama we saw in 2018 with Jim Acosta fighting for his ‘right’. OANN said they had permission. Who’s right, here?
Trump himself once took a jab at reporters for sitting too closely together for ‘social distancing’ guidelines.
They seem to have taken that message to heart. They have since been strictly enforcing it. So strictly, in fact, that one network has just been disinvited from the briefings because of it.
The reporter, OANN’s Chanel Rion, claims she was there with White House permission.
Under strict new guidelines jointly imposed last month by White House officials and the White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents journalists, access to the cramped briefing room is now restricted to about 15 reporters each day, to enforce social-distancing measures amid the coronavirus crisis, and several smaller news organizations can rotate in only once every several days.
And it wasn’t OANN’s turn on Tuesday. Nor on Wednesday, when Rion showed up in the room again – prompting the correspondents’ association to vote to remove OANN from the rotation.
“We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy,” the board of the WHCA said in a statement late Wednesday. “We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety.”
Rion and her employer, a tiny conservative cable outlet known as OANN, appear to have gotten special permission from the White House, in violation of the guidelines. The reasons, and the source of the approval, are unclear, but OANN and Rion have a history of reporting favorably about Trump. Rion herself has pushed conspiracy theories that advance his political interests, such as the unfounded allegation that officials in Ukraine secretly manipulated the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. Trump, in turn, has tweeted praise of OANN’s reporting dozens of times.
The White House, in effect, on Tuesday bent the rules – which were designed to ensure the health of journalists, the president and the nation’s top public-health officials – in granting access and a national spotlight to a correspondent from an obscure but Trump-friendly news outlet. —CHRON [emphais added]
It’s the President’s own briefing. Does his administration have the right to extend an invitation to a reporter of their choosing? Or nah? (Especially when that network speaks with a different voice than the majority of their competitors?)
This is the reporter at the center of the controversy:
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) April 2, 2020
Here are some reactions to the decision:
The WHCA defended a reporter who tried to pick a fight with White House guest and now it pretends to be concerned about "safety" in trying to ban @OANN!? @realdonaldtrump should guarantee a seat for @OANN at all pressers! https://t.co/YeGIpNqHen https://t.co/O1Ekiz8W0v
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) April 2, 2020
Here’s CNN being, well, CNN:
— Todd Wheetley (@Guyzerz) April 2, 2020
Brian Stelter weighs in & gets promptly dragged…
Which news network recently had to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit with a high schooler for slandering him as racist?
b) CNN https://t.co/kdM3ezVwRI
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 1, 2020
Here’s some broader context for the story:
Yesterday @WHCA was tweeting about how coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms. Today they’re kicking @OANN out of White House press briefings. You can’t make this stuff up. The WHCA is acting like an enemy of press freedom. They should have all power stripped ASAP. pic.twitter.com/DfMWyLC8fe
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 2, 2020
They control the seating chart, not room access or credentials. She'll still be there – and apparently she doesn't mind standing.
— Michael (Socially distant before it was cool) (@MkHmmr) April 1, 2020
(And one person quipped that they should remove all the chairs.)
What do you think is really going on here?
Is she being kicked out for safety violations? Or is she being singled out for being a dissenting voice from the lockstep critical voices coming from the left?