The White House Correspondents Association has barred a pro-Trump cable network from participating in briefings after one of its reporters repeatedly violated the organization’s social-distancing rules.
The WHCA’s temporary rules during the coronavirus pandemic limit the number of reporters in the White House briefing room, require them to sit a certain distance apart, and prohibit them from standing along the sides or back.
Chanel Rion, a correspondent for the right-wing cable channel One America News Network, has violated the rules on at least two occasions this week by standing in the back of the room, according to reports. On Wednesday, when a WHCA representative confronted Rion and asked her to leave, she refused, saying she was a special guest of White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
The Washington Post reports: Rion and her employer, a tiny conservative cable outlet known as OANN, appear to have gotten special permission from the White House, in violation of the guidelines. The reasons, and the source of the approval, are unclear, but OANN and Rion have a history of reporting favorably about Trump. Rion herself has pushed conspiracy theories that advance his political interests, such as the unfounded allegation that officials in Ukraine secretly manipulated the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. Trump, in turn, has tweeted praise of OANN’s reporting dozens of times. The White House, in effect, on Tuesday bent the rules — which were designed to ensure the health of journalists, the president and the nation’s top public-health officials — in granting access and a national spotlight to a correspondent from an obscure but Trump-friendly news outlet.