The Biden White House is developing new press pass criteria in consultation with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) that prohibit what the White House deems to be “conspiracy theories” and “disinformation.”
According to Politico, President Biden’s team is working with the WHCA to outline new criteria for qualifying for a “hard pass” which gives individuals and media outlets access to White House press briefings. Current press pass holders will then have to meet these new criteria to retain their hard passes.
Deputy White House press secretary T.J. Ducklo said reporters covering the White House will be expected to “operate in good faith and tell their audience the truth.” He added:
“Organizations or individuals who traffic in conspiracy theories, propaganda and lies to spread disinformation will not be tolerated, and we’ll work with the WHCA to decide how to handle those instances moving forward.”
Of course, what constitutes a conspiracy theory, propaganda, lies or disinformation varies widely depending upon who is making the determination.
However, the laptop at the center of this story is reportedly being used as part of a federal investigation into Hunter, one of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bobulinski, has corroborated parts of the story, and intelligence officials have said “there is no intelligence” that supports Hunter Biden’s laptop being part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
In this instance, Big Tech made the final call and heavily censored the story with Facebook branding it “misinformation” and Twitter deeming it to be in violation of its “hacked materials” policy.” Facebook and Twitter’s CEOs both later admitted they had no evidence that this story was “Russian disinformation.”
This is just one of many examples of the problems that arise with regulations around disinformation. Instead of allowing debate and discussion, an arbiter of truth has to step in and decide which perspectives are no longer allowed.
Under these new press pass rules, the Biden White House and WHCA will get to make the final call on what constitutes a conspiracy theory, propaganda, lies, or disinformation.
Several reporters have expressed concerns about losing their White House press credentials under Biden including America This Week host Eric Bolling who told Politico he’s taking steps to protect his standing by applying to become a member of the WHCA.
Sean Spicer, the host of Spicer & Co and a former Trump White House Press Secretary, has also applied to join the WHCA. He noted that the current group of White House press briefing attendees are going soft on Biden and described it as “an embarrassment for the press corps.” Spicer cited questions about the color scheme of Air Force One and Biden’s mood on Inauguration Day to support his claims.