This reporting is featured in this week’s edition of Confider , the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here .
The White House press office is seeking to toughen its requirements for journalist “ hard passes ,” two people familiar with the situation told Confider.
Such rule changes would likely affect notorious gadflies like Simon Ateba, who has repeatedly disrupted press briefings including last week’s event featuring the cast of Apple TV’s Ted Lasso .
According to our sources, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would like a quick return to Obama-era credentialing requirements for hard passes, which take several months to process and allow reporters to regularly enter the White House complex without prior permission. (Other journalists would request temporary day passes through the press office.)
During the Obama years, the White House typically only issued such passes to reporters who were also accredited by a chamber of Congress or the Supreme Court . In order to receive such accreditations, applicants must be primarily occupied as a journalist, work for a reputable media company, and regularly cover Washington, among other requirements.
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Besides Ateba, who revealed earlier this month that the White House Correspondents Association rejected his membership because they “did not see evidence” that he is employed by a legitimate news-gathering organization, the new rules could impact freelancers and independent journalists who cover the White House.
While sources stressed to Confider that the press office has mulled changing the rules for a year now, they also acknowledged that reporters like Ateba had been a disruptive force in the briefing room throughout that time—and potentially a reason to stiffen the rules.
Although the Trump administration loosened many Obama-era restrictions for hard passes, it also implemented new restrictions —after briefly revoking CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s pass—that required journalists to have been on the White House grounds 50 percent of the time prior to renewal (with some exceptions).
The White House press office declined to comment.
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