Thursday, March 17, 2005

White House Firetrap

The General Services Administration calls the White House Press Room "a firetrap." That's leading to plans for a renovation -- a potential "iretrap" for the White House Press Corps. In the end, it could mean kicking the media out of the White House altogether.

That nice, blue trimmed room you see on the TV news conferences -- is TV. It's a set. The seats look like they were looted from a condemned movie house. The carpet is stained with coffee, Coca-Cola, and godonlyknowswhat from the Clinton years.

Behind the seats, and in the basement, reporters, photographers, and producers huddle in tiny cubbyholes littered with paper -- news releases, newspapers, memos.

An outfit I worked for shared an "office" with Reuters. One desk, one chair, in a four-foot by four-foot broom closet. Only one person at a time allowed in.

It's a dump. But it's the Press Corps' dump. There was an administration effort to remodel the place during the Clinton years. But the Corps is very hesitant about those plans. Remodeling could mean redesigning the place -- pushing the press farther away from the President's people who leak goodies and make being part of the Corps such a cool gig.

During a possible summer renovation, there's talk of moving the media to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Imagine being a White House reporter and not even being in the White House.

And the plan they're talking up would return the current West Wing quarters to "Executive Residence use."

With pre-packaged VNRs, the Pundit Payola scandal, and Gannon/Guckert -- kicking the press out of the White House seems like the perfect plan for an administration perceived as trying to control its media coverage. (WashTimes)

[Crossposted at]

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