Laura Prather in Variety: Why the White House’s Rules for Press Conferences may Pose new Problems

11/20/2018

Variety quoted Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Laura Prather in an article about the outcry over the White House’s new rules for the media during press conferences. The uproar is in response to the recent revocation of a reporter’s press pass.

Here is an excerpt:

The White House fully restored CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard pass on Monday, and the news network in turn ended their litigation against the Trump administration.

At the same time, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders outlined a new set of rules for the media during press conferences. But those, too, may be legally problematic.

The rules are: 1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists; 2) At the discretion of the president or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow-up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor; 3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner; 4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass. …

Laura Prather, a media law attorney and partner at Haynes and Boone in Austin, said “you are not finding jurisprudence [on press access] because this was such an extreme measure taken by the White House.”

To read the full article, click here.

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