The Biden administration’s press office is under fire from journalists who accused it of “bad form” when confirming that White House communications director Kate Bedingfield was stepping down Wednesday – the latest sign that the press corps is fed up with the administration’s handling of the media.
The furor began when Politico White House reporter Alex Thompson accused officials of leaking a statement confirming Bedingfield’s resignation to the Wall Street Journal so that outlet could break the story.
“I called the White House at 2:53 pm to ask for comment and told them we were running,” Thompson said posted. “They asked for more time to check with folks. I gave it to them. WSJ pubbed at 3:11 pm with a statement from [White House chief of staff Ron] Klain. ”
Approximately two hours later – and only minutes after the White House formally announced Bedingfield’s departure – Thompson tweeted that the White House had finally sent him the official reaction from Klain.
Several reporters tweeted sympathy with Thompson and said his experience was not an isolated incident.
“This sounds so familiar!” said Tyler Pager of the Washington Post.
“The White House does this All. The. Hour,” wrote Thompson’s Politico colleague Alex Ward.
“If you’re a comms person, it’s not your job to run interference for news outlets that you prefer or that you’ve given the exclusive to…,” fellow Politico White House reporter Max Tani tweeted.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
The controversy broke out one week after 73 journalists signed a letter demanding the White House lift its mysterious pre-screening process for large presidential events that has repeatedly blocked access by various outlets, including The Post.
On Tuesday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted it was a “priority” to reopen the events, saying “we want to be accessible.”
It is unclear when the White House intends to lift the process since it has already resumed its regular schedule of public tours and recently hosted other large events while keeping the restrictions in place.