Establishment Media Turn on Each Other: WH Correspondents’ Association Rips CNN for Hiding Debate Studio from Press Pool

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In First Presidential Debate
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The establishment media are turning on each other as the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is ripping CNN for hiding the debate studio from the press pool — a criticism that comes as it seems the Biden campaign is puppeteering the rules of engagement for the highly anticipated presidential debate.

The WHCA detailed its concern in a letter, noting that it has “advocated for the inclusion of our White House travel pool inside the studio for the presidential debate” in a variety of ways — from reaching out to the White House to the campaigns to CNN directly.

While the WHCA said it is grateful CNN is allowing access to still photographers inside the studio, it said it is “deeply concerned that CNN has rejected our repeated requests to include the White House travel pool inside the studio.”

“Through conversation and advocacy, we urged CNN to grant access to at least one print poll reporter for the duration of the debate,” the WHCA said, noting that just one print reporter will be allowed access to the studio during a commercial break “to briefly observe the setting.”

However, the WHCA made it clear that it is “not sufficient” and “diminishes a core principle of presidential coverage.”

“The White House pool has a duty to document, report and witness the president’s events and his movements on behalf of the American people,” it wrote, emphasizing the importance of having these independent observers.

Further, the WHCA said both campaigns support the request.

The WHCA also pointed out that the debate will not have a live audience and will mute microphones — both requests of the Biden campaign — and explained that a pool reporter is there to “observe what is said and done when microphones are off or when either candidate is not seen on camera but may speak, gesture, move, or engage in some way.”

Ultimately, WHCA asked CNN to “adjust its plan” and “welcome the White House travel pool print representative to witness the debate in full for the sake of the news cycle, for history and most importantly for the American people.”

A CNN spokesperson told Breitbart News in a statement that it respects the role the WHCA plays but reemphasized that the debate is “being held without an audience in a CNN studio,” doubling down on its position that the studio be closed to press.

The spokesperson stated:

As proud members of the White House Correspondents Association, we respect the role the organization plays and their support for press freedom and access. CNN’s Presidential Debate is being held without an audience in a CNN studio and is closed to press. The feed was made available to Washington Pool Members, Washington Pool subscribers and CNN Affiliates, and is also available to embed via CNN’s YouTube channel without charge for digital outlets and is available on Following our traditional approach, CNN is providing access to the debate studio for a tight pool of photographers for the duration of the event and a larger group of photographers during a commercial break. In addition, CNN is providing access to the debate hall for the designated print pool reporter during the first commercial break to allow them to provide a pool report from inside the debate studio.

This WHCA’s request coincides with the stark reality that the Biden campaign seems to be in control of the rules of engagement for the debate, making it clear weeks ago that it is staunchly against live audiences. The Biden campaign told the Commission on Presidential Debates in a letter that “debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home — not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering.”
The New York Times confirmed that the Biden campaign demanded no audience for this network debate, asserting that it was “most likely based on a recognition that Mr. Trump tends to play to and feed off supportive crowds.”

Further, the Times confirmed that the Biden campaign also demanded the muted mics.

“The candidates’ microphones will be muted when it isn’t their turn to speak. That was another Biden request, intended to guard against Mr. Trump’s penchant for interrupting and speaking over debate opponents,” the Times reported.

When that is combined with the history of anti-Trump bias of CNN co-moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and the fact that the Trump campaign’s national secretary was cut off during a CNN segment on June 24 for pointing to those biases, it seems former President Donald Trump has the cards stacked against him once again. Nevertheless, as history has shown, Trump tends to not only survive but thrive in such hostile environments. And on Thursday night, many assume history is likely to repeat itself.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to include CNN’s statement.


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