White House reporters needlessly cling to tradition.
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.