White House press group stays out of credential system

WASHINGTON: The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) has decided not to take a more active role in the White House credentialing process, despite the discovery of a web reporter who used a fake name to gain access.

WASHINGTON: The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) has decided not to take a more active role in the White House credentialing process, despite the discovery of a web reporter who used a fake name to gain access.

Steve Scully, a WHCA board member, said the decision was based on the belief that the administration should err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion.

"[It's] very hard to say, 'Because you're a blogger you're not a credible journalist,'" he said. "Our feeling is, everyone should be allowed inside the briefing room. It should be a fair and open and healthy exchange of questions and information."

The WHCA had decided to address the matter in response to the controversy surrounding James D. Guckert, a reporter who obtained daily press passes for two years when he wrote under the name Jeff Gannon for now-defunct Talon News.

The WHCA has recommended that the White House examine its policy for distributing daily press passes, something Scully said has already begun.

"I don't think someone like a Jeff Gannon could get in for two years anymore," he said.

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