So much for bringing “truth and transparency back to the briefing room,” as White House press secretary Jen Psaki said shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
That’s because according to the Daily Caller, the White House will reportedly move forward with charging White House reporters a staggering $170 to enter the grounds and briefing room in order to pay for a COVID-19 test, which is required before entering the premises.
So, how might that affect the “truth and transparency” promise? Critics of the $170 COVID testing fee say that many smaller media outlets simply can’t afford to shell out that kind of money for their reporters on a daily basis just to cover the Biden administration, which should obviously be free of charge.
That could theoretically squeeze out those smaller outlets, many of which are conservative-leaning, and turn into a possible situation where only major, mainstream media companies can foot the bill and essentially have some level of exclusive coverage.
Defending the possible upcoming fees for testing, the White House has argued that paying for daily COVID-19 tests for dozens of journalists each day has “strained its budget.”
Biden’s team wants to charge reporters $170 for a COVID test every time they come to the White Househttps://t.co/guSRllt8Ki
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) February 26, 2021
The move has already garnered the attention of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), which is the group that oversees reporters who cover the White House and the various policies involved. The group has already lodged objections to the COVID-19 testing fees.
The White House has reassured media outlets that it will continue to pay for the COVID-19 tests for reporters assigned to the White House press pool, which rotates on a monthly basis between outlets.
It was also noted that former President Donald Trump authorized payment for COVID-19 testing for all reporters on a daily basis during his last months in office.