On Tuesday, a reporter for NBC News admitted during a televised panel that the Biden Administration has been severely limiting press access, using the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to keep Joe Biden hidden from the press and to avoid tough questions being asked of him, according to Fox News.
NBC’s White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett made the remarks during a panel discussion called “Reporting on the Biden White House: A Lookahead to Day 100,” hosted by the Meridian International Center. Bennett admitted that “the COVID restrictions allowed the Biden team to really limit the reporters who were brought into those press conferences in that theater in Wilmington” during the campaign. “And then beyond that,” he continued, “they were able to select the folks who got to ask questions of then-president-elect Biden.”
Bennett further elaborated that the Biden White House has been forcing journalists to pay for their own COVID tests prior to accessing White House grounds, which often cost about $180. This was a cost that some smaller and more local news outlets could not afford, thus preventing them from gaining access due to financial reasons.
“They didn’t know the questions that we were going to ask, but they certainly knew who we wee, all the reporters were known quantities,” Bennett explained further. “So there was no chance that they were going to call on, you know, some local reporter from some unnamed newspaper who was going to ask Joe Biden a potentially difficult or uncomfortable question.”
The increased scrutiny from even mainstream outlets comes as Joe Biden has by far set a new record for reduced press access to his administration; he has not held a press conference since his inauguration on January 20th, but recently announced that his first conference will be on March 25th. This will mark 64 consecutive days without a president giving a press conference since taking office, the longest such period since World War I.