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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

White House restricts Boston newspaper's access to Obama fundraiser



Citing the newspaper's perceived lack of fairness, the White House limited the Boston Herald's access during a Wednesday, May 18, Boston fundraiser for President Barack Obama, according to the Boston Globe.

While the Herald still would be considered for the pool in future visits, and the pool participants were selected by the White House Correspondents Association and not the Obama administration, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich linked the Herald's ban to its bias, citing the newspaper's front-page placement of an op-ed written by former Massachusetts governor and potential 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney, explained Mediaite.

"I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters," Lehrich wrote in response to the Herald's request to participate in the pool. "My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits."

The day after the fundraiser, the White House stood by its decision, according to another Mediaite story, which questioned why Lehrich would even bring up the op-ed if in fact the decision to exclude the Herald was already made, and it was not even a White House decision.

"This press office has never been shy about letting reporters know when they think we’ve been unfair, and this appears to be a somewhat heavy-handed example of that," wrote Tommy Christopher for Mediaite.

Lawrence O'Donnell chided the White House for excluding the conservative newspaper, according to the Huffington Post. "The Boston Herald doesn't like you," he said. "Get used to it."

Caren Bohan, vice president of the White House Correspondents Association, said journalists are "fighting" for more access to the president, according to the Boston Herald. “We’re constantly reminding the White House that we would like to see more press conferences and more opportunities for reporters to ask questions of the president,” she said, as quoted by the Herald. “That’s a big concern for us.”

The exclusion of the Herald follows an April incident when the White House banned a San Francisco Chronicle pool reporter who used her phone to shoot video at an Obama fundraiser in California.



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