In a proposed change to White House Correspondents Association bylaws, Breitbart News reporters could be kept out of membership.
The bylaw change would require its “regular members” membership level to be credentialed by, or work with or for an organization that is credentialed by the Congressional Standing Committee. This proposal would keep any uncredentialed reporters from voting or holding office in the organization.
The vote on the proposal is Friday. A townhall was convened Monday to discuss it.
Although the WHCA does not oversee granting White House credentials, its seen as the gold standard. Its biggest claim to fame is the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. The WHCA also advocates for White House press access, and presents scholarships to journalism students.
Jeff Mason, president of the WHCA, and White House correspondent for Reuters told CNN that regular members who would be affected by the change were informed.
Six journalists, including Breitbart’s White House correspondent Charlie Spiering, wrote a letter opposing the changes.
The letter argued that, “the bylaws change would mean some members and hard pass holders who regularly cover the White House will not have full participation in the organization that is supposed to represent them regarding access among other things.”
Breitbart was denied permanent congressional press passes in April over its ties to the Mercer family, and Steve Bannon’s nonprofit Government Accountability Institute. Breitbart did not meet a rule that required publications to be “editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government, or that is not principally a general news organization.”