At least 442 reporters have lost their credentials since the White House press office changed its rules for journalists to be eligible for permanent passes, according to reports.
The White House announced updated standards for a yearly renewal of “hard passes” in May. Journalists who do not obtain hard passes can still apply for a day pass.
Politico reported the number of credentialed White House correspondents dropped from 1417 to 975 after the previous passes expired July 31, with the new number reflecting “a mix of renewals and new applications.”
The White House told Politico that only one reporter had their application for a new hard pass denied, the hundreds who lost their passes this week presumably did not reapply, some due to not meeting the new qualifications.
For those who are losing their hard passes, the White House was said to have granted many of them a grace period until August 10 to keep their current passes and submit their materials to gain new ones.
The White House press office announced their updated standards in an email sent to all White House “Hard Pass Holders” in May with the guidelines for journalists to successfully renew their hard passes.
Reporters must show they have “Full-time employment with an organization whose principal business is news dissemination,” have a “Physical address” in the “Washington, D.C. area,” and demonstrate they have “accessed the White House campus at least once during the prior six months for work, or have proof of employment within the last three months to cover the White House.”
Additionally, hard pass seekers need to show they have an “Assignment to cover (or provide technical support in covering) the White House on a regular basis,” and have “Accreditation by a press gallery in either the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, or Supreme Court.”
Lastly, applicants must be willing to “submit to any necessary investigation by the U.S. Secret Service to determine eligibility for access to the White House complex.”
The notice also said passes will be revoked under the new rules if a journalist doesn’t act “in a professional manner,” with written warnings for violators followed by suspensions and bans for repeat offenders.
When the updated guidelines were announced in May, Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba blasted the White House Press Office, accusing it of targeting him with the new requirements.
Ateba, a reporter known for confronting White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during briefings, tweeted at the time, “BREAKING: The @WhiteHouse is changing the rules for press hard passes to target me. But I qualify for all those things as we just filed our taxes, are registered with the District of Columbia and have our address in DC. I studied journalism in college, received two degrees, have only worked as a journalist and trained countless people. I also attend briefings religiously and do not have a second job.”
He added, “It’s crazy what’s going on. How can a guy come from Africa and you have to change the rules because of him?”
A White House spokesperson justified the changes in a recent statement to Politico, saying, “At the time we initiated this process in early May, roughly 40 percent of hard pass holders had not accessed the White House complex in the prior 90 days. We think this demonstrates we’ve led a thoughtful and thorough process that preserves robust media access to campus for everyone who needs it—whether that be with a hard pass or a day pass.”
Fox News Digital reached out to the White House Press Office for comment on criticism of the new guidelines.
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