As White House Limits Access to Press Briefings, Daily Signal Reporter Loses Credentials

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by Rob Blue at

Two weeks from now, The Daily Signal’s chief news correspondent, Fred Lucas, will lose his White House press credentials. It’s the latest—and perhaps most brazen—attempt by President Joe Biden to limit media access to what he regularly calls “the People’s House.”

The White House Press Office will implement new rules July 31, when all “hard passes” expire. Lucas, holder of a hard pass since 2009, no longer will be able to easily attend White House press briefings or access the sprawling Pennsylvania Avenue campus—as he has done for the past 14 years.

At issue are new rules, announced in May, that limit the number of journalists who are eligible for a White House hard pass and give Biden’s press team greater power to expel journalists it doesn’t like.

The rules require pass holders to first obtain “accreditation by a press gallery in either the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, or Supreme Court.” (See the full email from the White House Press Office at the end of this story.)

The Daily Signal, a media outlet founded by The Heritage Foundation in 2014, doesn’t have press credentials to cover Congress or the Supreme Court, although Lucas recently applied for both. It’s unclear when he’ll receive a response and unlikely he’ll be approved, if history is a guide.

The Supreme Court has a limited number of hard-pass holders—just 25 for the past term. Congressional galleries, governed by a committee of journalists, have their own rules.

Lucas isn’t the only reporter who will be left without a hard pass for the White House in two weeks. The White House won’t say exactly how many others will lose access. Officials also won’t disclose the number of hard passes currently in circulation.

Simon Ateba, the White House correspondent for Today News Africa who regularly spars with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, is among those sounding the alarm.

The new rules stipulate that reporters must work full time for “an organization whose principal business is news dissemination.” But the rules go even further by requiring reporters to act in a “professional manner,” “respecting their colleagues, White House employees, and guests,” and “not impeding events or briefings.”

Ateba frustrates not just Jean-Pierre, who refuses to answer his questions at press briefings, but also other journalists in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. Last week, the White House Press Office sent Ateba a warning that he risked expulsion if he continued to interrupt briefings in violation of the new rules.

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