According to sources, the Biden administration wants to charge news media for coverage of the White House.
The White House press office has officially announced that starting Monday, it will begin charging reporters for the required coronavirus tests that anyone entering the White House grounds must undergo.
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According to The Post, the cost of the tests would be $170 per user.
“The payments could add up to tens of thousands of dollars flowing from newsrooms, many of them small and cash-strapped, into government coffers,” the Post notes.
— ☀️ Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) February 26, 2021
The Trump administration paid for the experiments, but the Biden administration says “that the expense of continuing the testing regime for nearly a year has strained its budget,” according to The Washington Post.
The proposal is opposed by the White House Correspondents Association.
The Washington Post quoted “one correspondents’ association member familiar with the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy hasn’t been officially released” as saying, “It sets up a means test for White House coverage.”
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I am sure whatever news agency (CNN, FAuX,MSNBC,ETC.) can swing it.
— Geoff Wilbourn (@WilbournGeoff) February 26, 2021
According to the source, no other federal agency charges a fee for virus testing.
CNN, for example, could face substantial costs as a result of the fee.
The Post estimated that testing would cost $1,360 a day for an eight-person crew, which it believed was normal.
COVID-19 restricts the number of journalists allowed at the White House to 80 a day, and media briefings are restricted to 14 individuals.
According to the Washington Post, news media have historically paid for travel and meals, including when reporters ride with the president on Air Force One, but the White House typically covers health and security.
The White House Correspondents’ Association and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki both refused to comment for this article in The Washington Post.
According to the Washington Post, the White House is proposing a counter-proposal that would encourage media members to provide evidence of an outside test, but this might not be the most cost-effective alternative, depending on the type of test the White House needs and who would administer it.