A recent White House press briefing got unruly.
The New York Post reports that several White House reporters revolted on Monday after an Associated Press reporter, in their eyes, ended the press briefing prematurely.
Monday’s White House press briefing was abruptly ended at about the 40-minute mark. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called it quits after the Associated Press’s Josh Boak gave her the signal, saying, “Thanks, Jen.”
Up until that point, reports indicate that Psaki only took questions from the reporters in the first two rows. Those reporters were allowed to ask multiple questions, while the reporters located beyond the first two rows were never called upon. Suffice it to say that these reporters were not happy with the situation.
Boak was immediately confronted after he called the press briefing off. “You know, you don’t have to call the briefing over,” Steven Nelson of the Chicago Sun-Times said, adding, “We have questions back here.”
Other reporters jumped in, asking Boak, “Why did you call it? Why did you do it?”
Boak replied, “Look, if you want to yell at me, I’m in the [AP] booth. You can do that there.”
Time to end the tradition?
After the back-and-forth continued for a bit, CBS News Radio’s Steve Portnoy stepped in to try to deescalate the situation. He began by pointing out that it is a tradition for the senior wire reporter to “end it when we feel we’ve had enough.” Portnoy added, though, “Clearly, we have felt that we have not had enough.”
“So there might be appropriate — an opportunity for we as a press corps to collectively decide when we’ve had enough, and to send that signal on our behalf to the AP man or woman so that he or she can signal to the secretary that we have had enough,” Portnoy suggested. “I think it’s appropriate for us collectively as a unit, as a press corps, to reach that accommodation.”
Several reporters agreed with Portnoy as they continued to lay into Boak. Boak made things worse for himself by revealing that part of the reason he ended the briefing early is that he had “discussions” with individuals who told him that they “needed an out at 3:30.” Boak said that he “obliged them.”
This led several reporters to ask Boak if this is the case they why did he decide to take up so much time asking Psaki several questions. From there, reporters went back and forth arguing that it is time to put an end to the tradition.
The Biden White House can’t even run a press briefing without controversy.