On Thursday, a group of the White House journalists signed a letter protesting the press-access restrictions imposed by the President Biden’s press shop. Journalist Brian Karem wrote the letter and Steven Nelson rallied the press corps to sign on the letter to the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer, White House Correspondent and the Founder of The Pavlovic Today, has signed the letter along with , Jake Turx, David Smith, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Kaitlin Collins among others, to demand full access to “traditional venues for presidential remarks at the White House , including the East Room and the South Court Auditorium, for any reporter admitted to the White House campus.”

Veteran journalist Sam Donaldson also signed the letter as in his words, “The attached is a well-written important ‘push back’ against an arbitrary restriction of press access.”

The letter is addressed to the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

You can read the letter to the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in full down below. 

6/26/2022

Dear Karine Jean-Pierre

We once again respectfully request the Biden administration – without exception – re-open all of the traditional venues for presidential remarks at the White House, including the East Room and the South Court Auditorium, for any reporter admitted to the White House campus.

The current method of allowing a limited number of reporters into these events is not only restrictive and antithetical to the concept of a free press, but it has been done without any transparent process into how reporters are selected to cover these events. We are all left wondering who is making these decisions and what are the criteria on which they are based?

The continued inability of the White House to be candid and transparent about the selection process for reporters attending his remarks undermines President Biden’s credibility when he says he is a defender of the First Amendment.

We appreciate that COVID-19 social distancing guidance played a role at first, but in the year and a half that Joe Biden has been president, and since such guidelines have been eased, we’ve never gotten an explanation as to why the areas that have traditionally been opened to all press remain restricted.

For any reporter not in the “pool” that covers the president, open press remarks represent the only time most of the reporters who cover the president might be positioned to ask him a question – or interact with him at all.

The continued inability of the White House to be candid and transparent about the selection process for reporters attending his remarks undermines President Biden’s credibility when he says he is a defender of the First Amendment.

Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask.

The incongruity of these restrictions underscores the belief by many reporters that the administration seeks to limit access to the president by anyone outside of the pool, or anyone who might ask a question the administration doesn’t want to answer.

Let us be candid. Our job is not to be liked, nor is it to be concerned about whether or not you like what we ask. A reporter’s ability to question the most powerful man in our government shouldn’t be discretionary. The administration’s continued efforts to limit access to the president cannot be defended. Any notion that space is “limited” is not supported by the fact that every other president before Biden (including Trump) allowed full access to the very same spaces without making us fill out a request form prior to admittance.

Thank you for your attention to these ahistorical problems. We ask you to see to it that the protocols are changed back to the access norms of which we are accustomed. 

Yours,

Brian Karem               Steven Portnoy            Steven Nelson            

Sam Donaldson

April Ryan                   Kimberly Halkett        Kaitlan Collins          

Jacqui Heinrich         

Debra Saunders          Susan Crabtree           John Bennett               Christian Datoc         

Shelby Talcott                         Katherine Doyle         Haisten Willis             James Rosen              

Ebony McMorris         Sara Cook                   Jake Turx                   

Rob Crilly                  

Peter Baker                 Eugene Daniels           Philip Wegmann        

Nikki Schwab             

Zolan Kanno-Youngs  Francesca Chambers  Emily Goodin              Katelyn Caralle

Geoff Earle                 Saagar Enjeti              Jonathan Swan           Nicholas Ballasy

Ken Thomas                Andrew Feinberg        David Smith               

Toby Capion

Owen Jensen               Ksenija Pavlovic         Olivia Nuzzi               

Yavuz Atalay

Doug Christian           Bricio Segovia            Jeff Mordock              

John Decker

Kevin Corke                Alex Thompson           Todd Gillman             

Alex Gangitano

Brian Bennett              Maggie Haberman      Linda Feldmann        

J.D. Durkin

Ed O’Keefe                 Laura Figueroa- Hernandez                         

Lynn Sweet

Bryan Lowry               Amber Athey               John Gizzi                  

George Condon

Ron Sachs                   Michael Wilner           Alex Roarty                

Scott Bixby

Tom DeFrank             Morgan Chalfant        Jonathan Salant         

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