The collected Washington bureau chiefs of the major broadcast networks rejected a White House attempt to keep Fox News from participating in pool reports. Rather than cut Fox out of the pool, the broadcast bureau chiefs unanimously told the Obama administration that none of them would accept any interviews from administration officials. That forced the White House into retreat:
We certainly give these broadcast networks plenty of criticism. Let’s take a moment to recognize their integrity. Jake Tapper stood up to Robert Gibbs earlier this week, and we wondered where the rest of the reporters at the White House were. They certainly showed up today.
The Obama administration on Thursday failed in its attempt to manipulate other news networks into isolating and excluding Fox News, as Republicans on Capitol Hill stepped up their criticism of the hardball tactics employed by the White House.
The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency.
But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.
The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.
Meanwhile, how bad is this for the White House? They now have all of the broadcast networks on record defending their competitor as a news organization. That reinforces reporting Fox News will do in the future, to the detriment of White House efforts to marginalize them. Plus, obviously, they look completely foolish in having to back down from their threat.