The White House press corps has been almost entirely shut out of President Obama’s weekend in Florida, and the journalists who make a living recording the president’s every move aren’t happy about it.
The Washington Post relates (all subsequent emphasis added):
[Obama] disappeared late Friday evening behind the gates of the Floridian, a lush golf and residential compound off limits to the public. Neither the public outside those gates, nor the media, has seen him since.
A photo of Obama on the course with someone as famous as Woods is commonly a moment the “traveling pool” of about a dozen journalists is allowed to witness. White House officials declined to allow that Sunday.
For the long weekend, the pool has been permitted just inside the Floridian gates, where reporters have used as their “filing center” a mirror-ceilinged party bus, the kind used for shouldn’t-be-driving evenings of bacchanalia like bachelor parties.
Because the president’s motorcade has not left the compound, White House officials have explained, there is no reason for the pool to track the president’s activities or to know who he is spending time with on a personal vacation.
White House Correspondents Association’s president Ed Henry released a statement condemning the lack of transparency Sunday:
“Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend. There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.”
But White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest maintains:
“The press access granted by the White House today is entirely consistent with the press access offered for previous presidential golf outings. It’s also consistent with the press access promised to the White House Press Corps prior to arrival in Florida on Friday evening.”
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