No sooner did the White House issue a new set of rules for journalists working presidential news conferences — part of the fallout from the Trump administration’s legal battle with CNN over Jim Acosta’s press pass — than the new rules came under criticism.
“Going forward, reporters are only allowed to ask one question each and give back the microphone when asked, according to a letter distributed Monday by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine,” The Huffington Post reports. “The consequences for breaking any of these rules could include suspension or revocation of a reporter’s press pass.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association was among the groups reacting negatively to the new rules. In a statement, the organization said: “For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions. We fully expect this tradition will continue.”
Meanwhile, journalists and legal experts voiced concerns that the rules could be enforced arbitrarily.
“They’re creating rules that are very easy to break and are likely to go unenforced until the government decides they want to make an example of somebody,” the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce said.
Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology project, said the rules “give the White House far too much discretion to avoid real scrutiny.”