Think last week’s brouhaha between White House pool reporters and Press Secretary Gibbs is over? Well, the answer is … sorta. Now pool reporters are making a splash about Obama’s hagiographer esteemed long-form, non-fiction writer Richard Wolffe.
The former Newsweek scribe’s book last year, “Renegade: The Making of A President,” was as critical as it sounds. And while White House reporters have been forced to push hard for access and take turns with pool reports, journalist Wolffe has been given a little more access than the others (he’s working on a sequel). The arrangement has worked well for Wolffe, but as The Newsroom‘s Michael Calderone writes:
Some in the press corps remain resentful
Most recently, White House reporters have noted with displeasure that Wolffe has been getting access to events alongside the White House pool reporter who is covering the event for all the news organizations in the pool. Julie Mason, a White House reporter for the Washington Examiner, even confronted Wolffe last month when the president was going to talk to the House Democratic Caucus, just before the historic health care vote.
“I was the print pooler, and I told him,’You are not in the pool — you shouldn’t be here,'” Mason recalled. “We did have words, and he invited me to take it up with Robert Gibbs. I asked him if he was now officially working for the administration, which rightly [ticked] him off.”
Mason said that she considers Wolffe a friend but that she objects on principle. “The pool system is for working journalists, and it’s the job of the WHCA to protect the integrity of the pool,” she said. “When the White House gives certain favored journalists permission to join the pool, it subverts the system.”
As Calderone, a former media reporter for Politico notes, this isn’t the first time a Wolffe’s been hunted. He’s used to it. In response to the latest dispute, Wolffe said “access is always a struggle” but “the White House has been very good to me.”
Well good for you.