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White House enables lack of news competition 3/19/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Competition.
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The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) has just decided who will fill the 49 seats in the newly renovated West Wing briefing room. Which begs the question, “exactly, who are the people at the WHCA?” Who are the people deciding who will ask the questions the Administration is asked each day — the questions which establish the so-called “national conversation?” The answer is a group of people representing the mainstream media — organizations which ought to be competitors, but in cases like this enforce an oligopoly, and in practice tend to deliver the same news stories and angles as each other. This collusion among would-be competitors keeps other outlets out and suppresses the emergence of alternative voices. For a Republican administration that has indicated it thinks of the WH press corps as a “filter” that unfairly distorts its messages, it is hard to understand why the Bush administration does not force rotation and competition for these valuable seats.

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