TO: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne
FROM: The Military Reporters & Editors Association
RE: Limited access to Tuesday’s conference call about the Afghanistan withdrawal
On behalf of the Military Reporters & Editors Association, I am lodging a formal protest of the White House’s decision to exclude most of the journalists who cover the U.S. military from Tuesday’s conference call with a senior administration official about President Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
The event was not announced publicly beforehand and it was limited to a small number of journalists. Given the enormity of President Biden’s decision and the potential strategic ramifications of ending the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan, and the lasting effect on the troops, veterans and families we cover, this conference call should have been open to all journalists.
Military Reporters & Editors represents a variety of journalists, many of whom have embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. A good number of our members work for smaller media outlets that do not have permanent White House bureaus, so they were unaware of Tuesday’s briefing until after it had started.
Given the importance of local news in today’s complex media landscape, the White House should make every effort to include those reporters who have dedicated their careers to telling the stories of service members, military families, and veterans whenever any administration official talks to the press.
Quite frankly, the White House’s decision to invite so few reporters to participate in Tuesday’s news conference is not in keeping with the Biden administration’s commitment to transparency with the American public.
I look forward to discussing this matter further with the White House and National Security Council press offices.
President of the Military Reporters & Editors Association