Staffers for Vice President Joe Biden reportedly attempted to edit press accounts of Biden’s recent trip through Virginia, trying to highlight certain aspects and remove potential embarrassments, according to Politico.
Biden’s two-day swing through the state — the site of his “put y’all back in chains” remark — saw aides twice try to edit pool reports before they were distributed to the rest of the media, something that is “all but unheard of,” Politico’s Jonathan Martin wrote.
Pool reports, written by members of the traveling press and then shared with the media at large, are standard practice on the campaign trail. As Martin noted, they’re sent to White House staffers who then forward them to a distribution list:
But on two occasions during Biden’s Virginia trip, his staff sought to have certain elements in the reports highlighted while reporters drafted them and discussed the contents with the reporters after the summaries had been sent but before they had before sent to the broader media.
Staffers spinning reporters to frame events the best they can is, of course, commonplace in politics. But attempting to intervene in the drafting of accounts that reporters share with one another is all but unheard of and reflects the deep concern Biden’s team has about offering any fodder to the opposition.
NBC News’ White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd called the report “an outrage” and said the pool system must be changed to keep out any White House interference.
Martin said the incidents are “a reflection of how much the Biden staff is determined to sort of police him and really save him from himself.”