The White House press pool filed a formal complaint against President Joe Biden following an incident at the Oval Office where aides refused to allow American reporters to ask questions.
Video on Tuesday shows Biden hosting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Oval Office.
After the pair delivered brief remarks, Johnson took three questions from British reporters while their American counterparts were immediately whisked out of the room afterward.
An attempt was made by CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe to shout a question about the ongoing border crisis to which the President responded in part that “violence is not justified,” before being drowned out by White House aides forcing reporters out of the room.
Biden’s response seems to address dubious claims of violent behavior by Border Patrol against Haitian migrants.
But then, there’s no way to tell what the intent was when Biden’s aides actively prevented him from fielding questions.
Video of the scene
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) September 21, 2021
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White House Press File Formal Complaint
White House Correspondents’ Association President Steve Portnoy indicated the press pool “immediately” went directly to Press Secretary Jen Psaki with their complaints.
“The entire editorial component of the U.S. pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office, and that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border,” a statement said.
“Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting.”
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 21, 2021
Psaki indicated she was unaware of the issue and, after the pool requested Biden holds a press conference to alleviate the situation, remarked that the President “takes questions several times a week.”
You know it has to be pretty bad when the normally adoring media are starting to get ticked off.
IN THE OVAL OFFICE… @POTUS Biden and British PM @BorisJohnson meet to discuss pandemic, trade and other issues. Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said. pic.twitter.com/A86kgdfsuc
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) September 21, 2021
Reporters Getting Frustrated?
The White House press pool filing a ‘formal complaint’ likely has no teeth to it whatsoever, but the fact that they’d go public with their complaints against the President and his handlers indicates frustrations are starting to brew.
Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker was trending on Twitter at one point due to her response pointing out that Biden once pledged to be a better partner to the press.
“Worth noting that Biden ran for office promising to restore democracy after 4 years of Trump,” she tweeted.
“But today it was the British leader, NOT the American one, who spotlighted a key tenet of a flourishing democracy — respect for a free press — by taking questions from his press corps.”
Worth noting that Biden ran for office promising to restore democracy after 4 years of Trump. But today it was the British leader, NOT the American one, who spotlighted a key tenet of a flourishing democracy — respect for a free press — by taking questions from his press corps.
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) September 21, 2021
It’s also worth asking how many of them would be lodging formal complaints or complaining on social media if it was Fox News reporter Peter Doocy singled out and not allowed to ask questions of the American President.
Darren Grimes of GB News points out that had this been former President Donald Trump, he would have been pilloried by the American media “as an ‘authoritarian’, a ‘fascist dictator’ evading scrutiny.”
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