In a shocking development, the Biden administration initiated a sweeping purge of reporters, resulting in a drastic reduction in the number of journalists with access to the White House.
This move, which has seen the number of reporters with coveted ‘hard passes’ drop by 31%, is a chilling assault on press freedom that has been met with an eerie silence from mainstream media.
Simon Ateba, Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa, recently shared a warning letter he received from the White House and the press secretary’s office.
The letter, posted on Twitter, threatened to revoke his hard pass, a clear indication of the administration’s intent to limit press access. This comes in the wake of new rules announced in May, aimed at restricting the number of journalists eligible for a White House hard pass.
JUST IN: A recent report found that the Biden White House has PURGED over 440 reporters, most of them being from conservative outlets, from attending White House Press Briefings.
So much for Freedom of Press! https://t.co/cpabZFGMeG
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) August 5, 2023
The new rules have had a significant impact. Over the past three months, the number of hard pass holders has plummeted from 1,417 to 975.
This represents a loss of 442 reporters, a mix of both renewals and new applications. Despite the critical role of the press in covering the White House, these reporters are now forced to apply for a day pass daily and undergo Secret Service review.
Among those who didn’t make the cut is Christian reporter Dr. Harper, who has previously faced bullying from fellow reporters. His exclusion further underscores the selective nature of this purge, raising questions about the criteria used to determine who retains access.
This situation starkly contrasts with the incident involving Jim Acosta in 2018. When Acosta’s White House press pass was suspended following an altercation with a female White House staffer, the mainstream media rallied in his defense.
They defended his right to question and challenge the US president, even when it bordered on harassment.
Over the past three months, the number of reporters with access to the @WhiteHouse dropped by 31%.
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) August 4, 2023
However, the same media outlets are conspicuously silent on the current purge of 442 reporters. In 2018, CNN sued to have Acosta’s pass restored under former President Trump, but today they remain mute.
Acosta himself thanked his colleagues for rallying around him when a federal judge ruled that the Trump White House had to restore his hard press pass. Yet, there is no such support for the hundreds of reporters now facing similar circumstances.
The deafening silence from the mainstream media on this issue is deeply concerning. It not only exposes their bias, but also undermines the very essence of press freedom.
The media’s role is to hold power accountable, not to selectively choose when to defend the rights of their colleagues based on political affiliations.
In conclusion, the Biden administration’s purge of 442 reporters is a disturbing development that threatens the free press. The lack of outcry from mainstream media further exacerbates this threat.
It is crucial for all media outlets, regardless of their political leanings, to stand up against such assaults on press freedom.