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Shut Out: White House Punishes Boston Herald for Paper's Romney Coverage

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"I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased..."

If you're a news source, and the White House doesn't like what you're putting on your front page, watch out.

The Boston Herald has just released e-mails between the outlet and White House spokesman Matt Lehrich, in which Lehrich explains why the administration has decided to deny full access to one of the Herald's reporters. Why? Lehrich questions if the Herald is "unbiased." Why exactly? Because he objected to an op-ed by Mitt Romney being placed on the paper's front page in March, and news of a presidential visit not getting the same treatment.

From the Herald:

The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.”

“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.

“My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits,” Lehrich wrote.

Lehrich added that pool duty had already been granted to a reporter from the Boston Globe, but that didn't stop him from making his comments.

Still, he did leave the door open for future assignments. “As we have in the past — including the multiple occasions on which the Herald has supplied local pool reporters — we will continue to consider the Herald for local pool duty for future visits,” Lehrich wrote.

“Newspapers don’t have to be unbiased to get access." Boston University journalism professor Fred Bayles told the Herald. "You can’t just let only the newspapers you want in."

You can read the White House's history of journalism wars from the Herald.

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