Monday, March 27, 2017

Tough Luck Bannon: Maybe Putin Will Grant Breitbart Carte Blanche to Kremlin Pressers

Couldn't Have Happened to More-Deserving Guy — Congrats

The story from here (Media Matters): The credentialing committee for Capitol Hill reporters announced today that it will not grant their request for permanent credentials at this time – citing the website’s failure to demonstrate editorial independence from key supporters of President Trump.
Members of the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery referenced several concerns with Breitbart’s bid for permanent status at a hearing this morning. 
Those concerns included: (1) The lack of evidence proving that former Breitbart CEO and the current White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon had actually separated himself from the website; (2) questions about whether Rebekah Mercer, who owns part of the outlet and was a key funder of Trump’s presidential campaign, also plays an editorial role; (3) the fact that some on the masthead have also received payments from the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), a nonprofit rightwing group funded by Mercer and previously led by Bannon; and (4) issues surrounding Breitbart’s apparent use of office space not zoned for commercial leases.
The committee is requesting more information from Breitbart by April 14 and for Breitbart to receive a permanent congressional press pass, its leaders must follow gallery rules by demonstrating that the website’s principal business is the daily dissemination of original news and opinion of interest to a broad segment of the public and that it is editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government.”
Breitbart fails these standards in a number of ways already as Media Matters documented in a December letter urging the members of the standing committee to reject its application. Bannon’s position in particular raises significant concerns, as even if he did actually separate himself from the publication, the possibility that he could return to his position after serving in the Trump administration suggests that Breitbart News cannot be editorially independent. Moreover, Bannon, at-large editor Peter Schweizer, and managing editor Wynton Hall each have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary from GAI while simultaneously working for Breitbart.
These ties between Bannon, Mercer, and GAI suggest that Breitbart is and will remain a propaganda arm for President Trump, not an editorially independent news outlet.
The conservative operation’s status as a provider of “original news and opinion” is also in question -- according to a Media Matters review of Breitbart’s October 2016 content, only 17 percent was original; 78 percent of the website’s articles were wire copy, and the remainder were aggregated.
Permanent congressional credentials would represent a substantial step forward for Breitbart. As Buzz Feed reported: “For newer outlets in Washington, winning permanent congressional press passes is a tedious process — but an important one.  The hard passes are seen as the first step towards joining the White House Correspondents’ Association, where member news organizations rotate their reporters to travel with the president at home and abroad. Reporters also use the hard passes to get into other events around Washington.”
Below is the full text of the letter Media Matters president Angelo Carusone sent the standing committee in December:
That letter and the whole story is here – good stuff for sure.
Thanks for stopping by.

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