White House Charging Reporters $60K to Do Their Jobs


(Photo Credits: FOXNews.com, AP)

In the PRNewserverse, we heart our journalist friends.

We appreciate their dedication to the craft of sharing stories and the sacrifices they make to do so. Consider the White House Press Corps. Their behavioral patterns follow the ebbs and flows of whatever the administration occupies the position at the time.

One small problem: President Obama isn’t that crazy about them. He has tried ignoring them, to the point of being given a petition. He has done a “Statue of Liberty” flag football move to avoid them en route to a fundraiser. He has even pointed his finger in their faces and accused them of spreading cynicism.

Now, the administration has effectively instituted a cover charge for reporters to get in the club to which they already belong. 

Thanks to one of our notable PR bloggers (AKA “Top Twits to Follow“) Ms. Kathleen Schmidt, we read about this alarming trend in the Washington PostWe will just let the headline do the talking:

On Obama’s Asia trip, members of the media will have to pay $60,000 each for flights. 

more obamaSo much for the “free press.” It seems the administration is giving the presidential Heisman to these huddled masses nimbly and frenetically typing on their laptops.

That cost — the most expensive total ever — does not include hotel stays, meals and shared “ground costs,” such as the rental of hotel ballrooms for use as press filing centers. Those additional expenses could push the total bill to about $70,000 per person for nine days of travel, according to some White House journalists.

The White House Correspondents’ Association is slightly miffed about this price tag to cover the president.

In an e-mail this week to members of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which makes press travel arrangements, the organization’s president, Christi Parsons, acknowledged that the cost was “staggering.” Parsons wrote in the e-mail: “No one is happy about it, and the WHCA board and the TV producers are looking at some creative ways to cut charter costs in the future.”

“These access decisions are far from over — they tend to go right down to the wire — and we’re fighting like hell for all we can get.”

Anytime you hear a journalist state he or she has to “fight like hell” to get a story about (arguably) the most public individual in the world, you wonder what’s wrong with this picture. This is not a politically-affiliated thing either: the Administration is cutting out everyone from Breitbart to Daily Kos.

If you are reporting about some technology announcement, getting that stuff second-hand and weaving in a unique point-of-view works. When you are dealing with the President, though, you need to be up front and personal.

Will The White House’s tense media relations strategy show results? There is a day coming up in November. I guess we will see.