The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) booted One America News Network (OANN) from the rotation of outlets allowed to attend White House briefings.
The WHCA, a left-wing organization that decides who’s allowed in the White House briefing room and where they sit, announced Wednesday that “the WHCA Board has voted this evening to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room.”
“We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy. We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety,” it added.
To honor rules regarding social distancing, the usually-packed briefing room is only allowing a handful of media staffers in to ask questions during President Trump’s daily briefings. OANN, a right-of-center news outlet that frequently rankles its counterparts in the far-left corporate media, is one of those outlets.
There are some 49 seats in the room. Social distancing only allows 14 media staffers to attend each briefing.
On Wednesday, OANN’s Chanel Rion stood in the back of the briefing room and was able to ask questions.
According to the far-left Los Angeles Times, “Before Tuesday’s briefing began, a representative of the correspondents association asked Rion to leave the room because it wasn’t her day to attend, but she refused, claiming she was there ‘as a guest of Stephanie Grisham,’ the White House press secretary.”
Rion showed up again on Wednesday and again stood in the back of the room, apparently in violation of the WHCA’s rotation rules.
It’s worth noting that last month Rion made news when she asked Trump his thoughts on “major left-wing news media, even in this room, [teaming] up with the Chinese communist party’s narrative” about it being racist to call the Chinese virus the “Chinese virus.” Afterwards, someone, probably one of those “major left-wing media” teaming up with the ChiComs, attempted to intimidate her with a nasty, anonymous note.
All of this context is important. OANN is obviously hated by the establishment media, who would love to see OANN blacklisted for refusing to join what has become a mindless, establishment media cult of Trump haters. Take the shameless blacklisters at CNN, for example.
But at the same time, if OANN is openly violating health protocols, the WHCA does have cause. The question now is whether OANN did or did not have special permission to attend from the White House. As of this writing, the White House has not yet commented.
The problem for the WHCA is that it has no credibility on these matters. In November of 2018, CNN’s Jim Acosta openly heckled and lectured Trump during a televised press conference, and when a White House intern tried to gently take the microphone from him, Acosta got physical with her by twice whacking away at the much smaller woman’s arm. It was unconscionable behavior, and for good reason, the White House suspended Acosta’s press pass — not CNN’s press pass, just Acosta’s. Nevertheless, the WHCA immediately took Acosta’s side.
Is manhandling a woman not a violation of WHCA rules?
Is heckling White House guests and challenging them to a fight not a violation of WHCA rules?
One question I would like to ask the WHCA is why ban OANN as a whole and not just this particular reporter? Why ban the entire network? The White House did not ban all of CNN, just Acosta.
Also, judging by photos of the briefing, Rion was respecting social distancing from where she stood. So what was the health risk?
The public reaction, of course, has been along partisan lines, with anti-Trump activists like CNN’s Brian Stelter cheering the move and others questioning it.
“If you can’t beat the competition, ban them,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted in OANN’s defense.
“It’s Trump’s briefing room. He could tell the press Corp to pound salt,” he added.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton isn’t buying the WHCA’s rationale. “OANN female reporter harassed with anonymous threatening note left by leftist White House reporters,” he tweeted, adding sarcastically, “and this is the reaction from White House reporters group…throw her out of briefings for ‘safety’ violations!”
As of now, I am unable to find anyone in the establishment arguing the WHCA went too far, that OANN deserves another chance after this warning, or any concerns about how this violates freedom of the press.