White House Formally Threatens To Revoke Disruptive Reporter's Press Pass

The Biden administration warned the reporter in a letter that further interruptions of Karine Jean-Pierre and press briefings will get his credential pulled.
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Reporter Simon Ateba has received a formal warning from the White House that continued outbursts during media briefings will cost him his press pass.

Ateba, a White House correspondent for Today News Africa, shared the letter on Twitter this week. He blamed the Biden administration threat on a Washington Post article that called him “the reporter making himself the story.”

“The White House recognizes that members of the press often raise their voices or shout questions at press briefings or events. Ordinarily, such shouting stops when a reporter is called on for a question, and the briefing or event is able to continue,” the White House letter read.

“Continuous interruptions are different; they prevent journalists from asking questions or administration officials and guests from responding. The Press Secretary’s only option in response to such disruptions is to stop the briefing or event, which is to the detriment of all journalists,” it continued.

“This letter serves as your written warning, pursuant to the May 5, 2023 Notice, that the behavior you exhibited on June 26, 2023 is unacceptable. If you continue to impede briefings or events by shouting over your colleagues who have been called on for a question, even after you have been asked to stop by a White House employee, then your hard pass may be suspended or revoked, following notice and an opportunity to respond.”

The letter cited numerous instances of Ateba shouting at press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in attempts to be recognized while distracting from the matters at hand and angering fellow journalists. He has claimed the Biden administration is discriminating against him and his complaints have been met with a welcome ear from Fox News and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

In one infamous March episode cited in the letter, Ateba interrupted a visit by the “Ted Lasso” cast to yell at Jean-Pierre for not calling on him in months. The combative antics continued for several minutes and drew reprimands from fellow journalists.

“The press corps is tired of dealing with this,” Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and former White House Correspondents’ Association president, snapped at Ateba.

“Mind your manners when you’re in here,” journalist Brian Karem added. “If you have a problem, you bring it up afterwards. But you are impinging on everybody in here who is only trying to do their job.”

Jean-Pierre apologized to Jason Sudeikis and the rest of the cast and later reprimanded the room for “unacceptable” behavior.

On another occasion she called Ateba “incredibly rude.”

The Hill noted that if Ateba were to have his credential yanked he might still enter the facility through a cumbersome procedure that allows media to apply for access on a day-to-day basis.

The Washington Post reported that Ateba’s hard pass would be in jeopardy anyway under new criteria “which require reporters to first qualify for a congressional or Supreme Court press pass to receive one for the White House.” The stiffer rules were announced in May.

During the Trump administration, CNN’s Jim Acosta had his press pass canceled but got it restored amid a network lawsuit over the matter.

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