The board of the White House Correspondents’ Association recently met with Obama press aides Jay Carney and Josh Earnest to discuss improved access to President Obama. Chances are slim that anything will actually change, but according to the letter below from McClatchy’s Steve Thomma of the WHCA, all parties are “encouraged” that progress is being made. Sounds a little weak. But among the formal requests being made: White House correspondents should see POTUS every work day and restore pool coverage of the after-dinner entertainment at all State Dinners.
A White House insider told The Mirror,”Here’s the deal: the White House doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the White House press corps. Reporters can bitch and moan all they want, the press people just laugh their asses off when they do.”
See the internal WHCA email…
Subject: OPEN PRESS
Want to update you on our work to improve access to the president, both for cameras and the entire pool. I did give a readout at last week’s general membership meeting, but send this along for those who could not attend.
The board of the WHCA met with Jay Carney and Josh Earnest recently for one of our regular meetings, and the discussed this among other things. We all left the meeting somewhat encouraged that we’re making some progress on access since last fall.
Here are some of the specifics we presented to the White House for discussion. It’s a blend of requests from members of the broad media coalition that protested photo and camera access, from photographers, and from the WHCA itself. In many cases, please note that we ask for better access for the entire pool, not just cameras.
Overall Objective: To ensure that the White House press corps, including photographers and videographers, have consistent, predictable and meaningful access to record and report the activities of the President.
Pool coverage for all bill signings.
Pool coverage of news making meetings and official meeting with visiting heads of states.
Still coverage of any event at which the White House is planning to release a photo. Video coverage for any event at which the White House plans to release video.
Pool should see the president every work day
State Dinners – Restore pool coverage (as in previous administrations) of the after-dinner entertainment.
Annual Kennedy Center Honors – Restore open coverage (as in previous administrations) of guest arrivals for the presentation in the East Room.
Celebrations on the South Lawn – Restore pool coverage (as in previous administrations) of celebrations with entertainment such as Cinco-de-Mayo, Independence Day, etc.
Photo sprays should not be limited to only one photographer.
A regular consultation with the WHCA on the week ahead following its release.
As always, please let us know what you think.