Conservatives are coming to the defense of The Daily Signal after The Washington Post questioned its journalistic legitimacy for being part of White House press pool coverage.
Pool reporting is a responsibility that includes covering day-to-day activities of the president, vice president, and first lady.
The Washington Post called Daily Signal correspondent Fred Lucas’ participation in the pool “unusual” and suggested that his involvement could have “crossed a symbolic line, into greater legitimacy for the partisan press.”
That didn’t pass muster with several conservatives, who spoke out against The Washington Post.
Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, defended Lucas’ standing in the press pool in a Breitbart News Daily radio interview. Gainor said The Post’s claim that Lucas is “tainting” the press pool is part of a bigger “elaborate game” to target conservative media.
“This has a larger strategy. We saw it a couple times this week. It is the attempt to demonize all conservative media. The Washington Post is big-time into this,” Gainor said.
Breitbart’s Raheem Kassam added, “[Media bias] really does drive me mad, watching this stuff go on. … I just want to scream and ask, ‘What are you doing?’”
Lucas has a history of handling pool coverage outside of his work at The Daily Signal. As the former White House correspondent for TheBlaze, he handled pool duties for former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and first lady Michelle Obama.
Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, wrote in an op-ed that “agenda driven” news sources that are “decidedly left wing,” such as Salon, The Huffington Post, and Talking Points Memo, all carry out pool duties and are not accused of partisanship by The Washington Post.
“The liberal media is still defending its ‘mainstream’ presence and trying to shame the Trump team out of ‘normalizing’ conservative media outlets,” Graham wrote.
Conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson wrote about the controversy for The Resurgent, defending The Daily Signal’s standing in the press pool.
“The Daily Signal is a news outlet that originates out of The Heritage Foundation,” Erickson wrote. “The latter is decidedly conservative. The former is a news outlet, but its presuppositions on which it bases the news are right-of-center.”
“Mr. Farhi of the Washington Post thinks adding The Daily Signal to the White House press pool may set a dangerous precedent because ‘[t]he slope could become even more slippery if extremist or racist organizations sought similar status,’” Erickson wrote.
By saying this, Erickson added, The Washington Post is likening The Daily Signal to extremists, or implying that the outlet is “a step or so away.”
“When the White House Correspondents’ Association, which forms the pool, defended adding these left-wing groups, its former president, Ed Chen, said the reports are all transparent and can be judged. The reports, again, are just the facts,” Erickson wrote.
Daily Signal Editor-in-Chief Rob Bluey wrote his own defense of the publication, noting the flawed reasoning of The Post.
“We’re not going to be pushed around,” Bluey wrote. “And when it comes to covering the White House, we’re here to stay.”