White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has quietly implemented a new standard that has resulted in what one journalist calls "a mass purge" of "almost the entire White House press corps."
Huckabee Sanders revoked the press credentials, known as a "hard pass," for all Washington Post reporters assigned to cover the White House, and many others. That would be six correspondents, and Dana Milbank, a veteran journalist who writes an opinion column at the Washington Post, and is the first to report this story.
"After covering four presidents, I received an email informing me that Trump’s press office had revoked my White House credential," Milbank writes in The Washington Post Wednesday evening.
"It was part of a mass purge of 'hard pass' holders after the White House implemented a new standard that designated as unqualified almost the entire White House press corps, including all six of The Post’s White House correspondents," Milbank continues. "White House officials then chose which journalists would be granted 'exceptions.' It did this over objections from news organizations and the White House Correspondents’ Association."
It is not known which reporters or news outlets were granted exceptions.
"The Post requested exceptions for its six White House reporters and for me, saying that this access is essential to our work," Milbank adds. "The White House press office granted exceptions to the other six, but not to me. I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic. The move is perfectly in line with Trump’s banning of certain news organizations, including The Post, from his campaign events, and his threats to revoke White House credentials of journalists he doesn’t like."
What is this new standard the White House has concocted?
Milbank reports it is "a clear — if nearly impossible — standard: No credentials to any journalist who is not in the building on at least 90 out of the previous 180 days — in other words, seven of every 10 workdays. The White House wouldn’t provide numbers, but it appears most of the White House press corps didn’t qualify for credentials under the new standard, including regulars for The Post and the Associated Press."