• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Psaki defends the White House's 'quote approval' rule as reporters grow frustrated

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
jen psaki
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, at a briefing on March 11. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Reporters covering the Biden administration are frustrated with the White House's quote-approval rule.

  • The rule means the White House must approve quotes from an administration official in a story.

  • "The rule treats them like coddled Capitol Hill pages," one reporter told Politico.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Reporters covering the Biden administration are growing "increasingly frustrated" with the White House's demand to approve quotes in their stories, Politico reported on Tuesday.

Under President Joe Biden, the White House communications team has often conducted interviews with administration officials and journalists on "background with quote approval," Politico reported. That means that any quote from an administration official included in a story must be sent to the communications team for approval before publishing. The rule allows the White House to wield greater control over news coverage.

While prior administrations, including Donald Trump's and Barack Obama's, have also followed the practice, some reporters told Politico that Biden's team was abusing it.

"The rule treats them like coddled Capitol Hill pages and that's not who they are or the protections they deserve," one reporter told the outlet.

"Every reporter I work with has encountered the same practice," another reporter told Politico.

Reporters tend to be unwilling to push back on or reject interviews from the White House, considering the competitive nature of the industry. One reporter told Politico, "If you start fomenting an insurrection, keep me updated."

The White House did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told Politico that 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."

"At the same time, we make policy experts available in a range of formats to ensure context and substantive detail is available for stories," she added. "If outlets are not comfortable with that attribution for those officials they of course don't need to utilize those voices."

Since taking office, Biden has tried to restore a cohesive communications strategy to the White House, speaking occasionally to journalists, offering regular press briefings with Psaki, and tweeting general updates on his administration's work. Biden's approach largely differs from that of Trump, who often operated as the sole spokesman of his administration.

Psaki said in a CNN interview last week that she did not appreciate Biden's interactions with reporters at events, such as answering their questions once he wraps up a speech.

"That is not something we recommend," Psaki said. "In fact, a lot of times we say 'Don't take questions,' you know, but he's going to do what he wants to do because he's the president."

"We're never going to satisfy the White House press corps and their desires for access," she said. "And I think there have been mistakes made in the past of trying to do that."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting