Media

The White House Finds Another Way To Irk The Journalists Who Cover It

US President Barack Obama, followed by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, arrives to make a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the White House briefing room in Washington,DC on July 18, 2014. President Obama said Friday that a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine downed the Malaysian plane and that one American was among the dead. 'Their deaths are a outrage of unspeakable proportions,' Obama told reporters as he pressed for an international investigation. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama, followed by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, arrives to make a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the White House briefing room in Washington,DC on July 18, 2014. President Obama said Friday that a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine downed the Malaysian plane and that one American was among the dead. 'Their deaths are a outrage of unspeakable proportions,' Obama told reporters as he pressed for an international investigation. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes, it seems as if the White House is finding every way it can to annoy the reporters who cover the Obama administration.

White House journalists have complained over and over and over and over and over again about the ways the Obama press office has tried to restrict or hinder their activity — and that's before you even get to those Justice Department surveillance scandals.

Wednesday found yet another scuffle emerging — this time over the White House pool report, the daily chronicling of the president's activity which is compiled by reporters every day but distributed by the White House itself.

Journalists who cover the White House say Obama’s press aides have demanded — and received — changes in press-pool reports before the reports have been disseminated to other journalists. They say the White House has used its unusual role as the distributor of the reports as leverage to steer coverage in a more favorable direction.

The disputed episodes involve mostly trivial issues and minor matters of fact. But that the White House has become involved at all represents a troubling trend for journalists and has prompted their main representative, the White House Correspondents’ Association, to consider revising its approach to pool reporting.

The solution? Cut the White House out of the process and have the WHCA distribute the report itself. That was a strategy that found favor on Twitter after the Post's report was published:

Hey media, how about stop whining about this, make your own .xls file of emails, and distribute the reports yourself? http://t.co/3Bu4imbKD1

— Andrew Exum (@abumuqawama) September 24, 2014