Monday 3 January 2022

White House Press Briefings Reduced to Fourteen Socially Distanced Reporters Over Omicron Fears

 White House press briefings will be limited to just fourteen reporters according to an announcement Sunday by the White House Correspondents’ Association because of fears about the Omicron COVID variant. Last week the WHCA was calling for the briefings to be done by remote, a request that was rejected by the Biden administration according to the Washington Post.

File screen image with always applicable chyron.

Philip Wegmann with Real Clear News posted the news and new seating chart.

Excerpt from Washington Post article about the WHCA trying to go ZOOM over Omicron fears.

With a fierce new variant of the coronavirus on the loose, White House reporters are urging press secretary Jen Psaki to move her daily briefings online — but it’s an idea Psaki has been cool to so far.

The White House Correspondents’ Association has proposed holding the daily briefings on Zoom or some other online platform to avoid face-to-face contact in the White House’s cramped briefing room.

The WHCA is concerned that reporters face an elevated risk of being infected with the highly contagious omicron variant — or infecting their colleagues with it — while congregating in the 49-seat briefing room or the narrow workspaces behind it.

…White House officials have told the WHCA that the administration’s covid protocols — which include mask requirements, and vaccine and booster checks or tests for those entering the White House premises — are sufficient protection against omicron.

…As a fallback strategy, the WHCA is considering capping the number of reporters permitted into the briefing room at 14 to ensure greater social distancing. The group doesn’t control who can enter the grounds or the building, but it is in charge of assigning seats in the briefing room and allocating the adjacent workspace.

…But such limits are voluntary and impossible to enforce. President Donald Trump ignored the 14-person limit last year and invited writers from outlets that were loyal to him, such as One America News, the Epoch Times.

John Fund noted, “How convenient. This is one way to make sure pesky reporters from non-major news outlets don’t ask annoying questions.”

It’s also a way to limit the only two reporters who routinely trigger Jen Psaki, Fox’ Peter Doocy and the New York Post’s Steven Nelson, from being able to upset the narrative with probing questions.

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