Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Blogging from the White House

There's a silver lining to the sordid Jeff Gannon/James Guckert affair. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several weeks, you know who I'm talking about so I'm not going to rehash all the lewd details. But one of the points that has been driving the blogosphere nuts has been trying to figure out how this right-wing hack passed the background check necessary to get a press pass to get within spitting distance of the president. The right has countered that he didn't have an "official" press pass, but just a long series of day passes. Ann Coulter, in her sweet, charming way added that "press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president." Thomas, who has been in the White House press pool since the Fillmore Administration or thereabout, is the daughter of Lebanese immigrants.

Garrett M. Graff of fishbowl DC set out on a quest to obtain one of the golden tickets, a White House day pass. After several days of bureaucratic runaround, he finally achieved his objective: admittance to the White House briefing room. The big day was yesterday, March 7. This post, "Off to the White House..." has links to the other posts documenting the four or five days of failure. Two posts, "Inside the Gaggle" and "Inside the Briefing: Reality TV at It's Worst" describe what it was like to be the first blogger in the White House press pool: boring and whatever the opposite of glamourous is.

UPDATE: Today, Graff has two more posts about his experiences inside the White House. "FLASH: Scott McClellan Has No Visible Horns in Person" describes a private meeting/interview with McClellan in his office. "On White House Credentials" attempts to answer the questions: "So who can cover the White House now? Who's a journalist in this day and age? Who's legitimate?" As far as getting the White House hard pass, the news agency, crew, or freelancer has to be based in Washington and there's a requirement that at least half of a reporter's income has to come from his news organization. These requirements will probably limit most bloggers to using day passes.


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