White House re­porters need­lessly cling to tra­di­tion.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

Con­ser­va­tive colum­nist Cal Thomas re­cently dis­missed the me­dia as one of the “en­trenched bu­reau­cra­cies . . . that are re­luc­tant — even hos­tile — to change.” He lamented that “the White House press corps has its knick­ers in a twist” over the pos­si­bil­ity that Trump might move re­porters out of the White House, an idea the ad­min­is­tra­tion seems to have since aban­doned. And it’s true that in the past, the White House Cor­re­spon­dents’ Association has fought cer­tain changes, such as Pres­i­dent John Kennedy’s de­ci­sion to tele­vise his news con­fer­ences.

But to­day’s re­porters have worked with ad­min­is­tra­tions of both par­ties to find bet­ter ways — col­lab­o­rat­ing on travel sched­ules, cost-cut­ting mea­sures and which char­ter flights re­porters use. Con­trary to what pres­i­den­tial aides have sug­gested, the cor­re­spon­dents’ association has not blocked ac­cess to any ac­cred­ited re­porters and has not kept them out of the brief­ing room. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus seems to think the 49 as­signed seats in the room are set in stone and doled out to longestab­lished me­dia out­lets. In fact, 20 of the 49 seats are held ei­ther by news or­ga­ni­za­tions that didn’t ex­ist when the seats were first as­signed in 1981 or by or­ga­ni­za­tions new to cov­er­ing the White House. Those in­clude Ya­hoo News, Sir­iusXM, Salem Ra­dio Net­work, the Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner, Real Clear Pol­i­tics, Bloomberg News, Fox News, Buz­zFeed and Politico.

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