White House Banned Reporters From Tweeting Biden’s Remarks

Apropos of the news about Romney closing the press out of a fundraiser in Israel, a decision which has since been reversed, I’m reminded of this story from earlier this week: 

Vice President Joe Biden will take questions from reporters on a White House press call today, and as has been the case in the past, the on-the-record conversation will be embargoed until the end of the call.

The curious caveat — who would write an article during the middle of the call? — is a product of the post-Twitter presidential campaign, barring reporters from the beloved habit of tweeting remarks in real-time.

But it begs the question: If it’s going to be in an article 20 minutes later, why can’t it be on Twitter right now?

The White House said that it was so the reporters could hear the full context of Biden’s remarks before writing about them, but one could also easily see this being a way for the White House to be able to pre-empt any reports about a gaffe by our gaffetastic Vice-President before news of it become public. Whatever the reason, though, the really unfortunate thing here is that the press agrees to these rules in the first place.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. David says:

    Tweeting mid call is bad journalism.

  2. Tillman says:

    This is horrible. Biden is the grease that makes the Twitter laugh factory run smoothly and efficiently! Frickin’ White House has no appreciation for how businesses operate.

  3. David,

    Whether it is or not is not up to the White House

  4. David says:

    Sure it is, Doug. If you want to cover the call, you have to listen to the call. The fact that the White House requires them to do it just shows how far down journalism has sunk in the age of twitter as a news source. I have no problem requiring the press corps to actually cover the call as opposed to tweeting one liners.

    There are certain rules that the White House Press Corps has to follow to be a member of the White House Press Corps. It is just like you don’t ask questions until the prepared remarks are finished. Its a matter of professionalism.

  5. Dean says:

    @David: Tweeting mid call is bad journalism.

    What makes it bad journalism and how is it different from the TV networks running a crawl in mid-speech of comments the speaker just made?

  6. James Joyner says:

    @David: Live-tweeting events is now very standard journalism. Sending out one-liner quotes doesn’t preclude a substantive summary afterwards.

    Although, personally, I can do one or the other. I can’t tweet and listen well for context. Others can, though.

  7. David says:

    @Dean: I think its bad to do that too, but the difference is that I can listen to the speech and ignore the crawl. I don’t get to be in on the call, so if someone is going to report on it, I would appreciate that they actually report the whole story, not a one liner that may or may not be accurate and is certainly taken out of context. That’s what political ads are for.

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    Heck, I’d be happy if the press didn’t cover Biden’s remarks in print, tweets, or broadcast.

  9. David says:

    @James Joyner: I’m not saying it’s not standard for reporting these days, I am saying its not good journalism. One, it is basically one liners without context, and, as you pointed out, if you are tweeting, you are not listening.

  10. @Dave Schuler:

    In many cases, so would the White House I imagine.

  11. Chad S says:

    So, the outrage here is that they aren’t letting them report on the contents of the call until its over? Umm….

  12. walt moffett says:

    @Chad S:

    I’d say the outrage is that the news source is demanding control over how the press does their job.