White House reporters battled the Obama administration over press access once again on Tuesday.
This time, the cause was President Barack Obama's meeting with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Sunday was the 45th anniversary of the day they landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and only still photographers were permitted to attend the meeting. The White House Correspondents Association filed a formal complaint with press secretary Josh Earnest after other journalists were shut out.
Speaking on behalf of the WHCA at Tuesday's press briefing, CBS News' Major Garrett told Earner that the event is the classic example "of something that should have the broadest press coverage imaginable, and we are therefore lodging a complaint against your decision to keep us out." ABC News' Jon Karl also grilled Earnest about the decision to keep print and television journalists out.
Earnest attributed the move to Obama's "busy schedule" and said that "we weren’t able to accommodate TV cameras this time." Someone off-screen could be heard saying that the last press pool spray took "thirty-eight seconds."
Journalists have long been frustrated with press access to President Obama. In October, for example, White House reporters penned a letter to the Obama administration questioning limits that often prevented them from taking photos of the president.