The White House Correspondents Association officially booted right-leaning One American News Network from live White House press briefings due to several violations of social distancing guidelines, but it also masked the press’ disdain for OAN’s reporting.
“We are writing to inform you that the WHCA Board has voted this evening to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room,” the WHCA said. “We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy. We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety.”
The WHCA did not name OAN or its correspondent Chanel Rion directly, but media outlets confirmed that Rion violated social distancing guidelines on multiple occasions.
Although it was fair for the WHCA to kick out OAN from the seating rotation in the press briefing room in the White House, the incident also highlighted the media’s disdain for OAN and right-leaning news coverage. Politico called OAN and Rion “the fringe conservative cable channel” and said that Rion “has most recently been panned for her line of questioning” at recent press briefings. The Daily Beast also reported a week ago that Rion “asks incredibly bonkers softball question” during a press briefing.
Compared to Politico, Fox News did not inject criticism of OAN into its reporting and pointed out that Rion was seen violating social distancing guidelines.
OAN and Rion should adhere to the social distancing guidelines that the WHCA implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among the press and it should learn from this experience. However, the media took the news as an opportunity to criticize the right-leaning network and undermine its credibility and legitimacy.