The White House Press Corps is reportedly on the verge of mutiny over a Biden administration requirement that all quotes used in press pieces receive approval before publication, according to Politico.
The outlet noted, “The Biden White House isn’t the first to employ the practice. Many reporters say it’s reminiscent of the tightly controlled Obama White House. The Trump White House used it, too.”
The New York Post explained, “The information from the interview can be used in a story, but for a reporter to be able to attach a name to the quote, the reporter must transcribe the comments and send them to the communications team.”
The New York Times wrote on this issue in 2012, nearly a decade ago. “The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources.
“In its most extreme form, it invites meddling by press aides and others that goes far beyond the traditional negotiations between reporter and source over the terms of an interview.”
However, the Biden administration has allegedly expanded a more controlled version of the practice. The concept of “background with quote approval” has become a way for White House officials to better dictate news.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki continued to support the practice. She noted the communications team “would welcome any outlet banning the use of anonymous background quotes that attack people personally or speak to internal processes from people who don’t even work in the Administration.”
The desire for accuracy is commendable; the level of control is not.