White House Correspondents’ Association president Jeff Mason said the White House had requested the association to criticize a specific article and publicly rebuke a particular journalist. Mason made his remarks during a town hall-style meeting where members asked questions of the association board.
“The White House has come to ask me specifically, asking me to intervene or criticize a news organization or a reporter… to release a statement criticizing a reporter’s story. We’ve made clear that’s not our role,” Mason said, without clarifying on when the White House made this request or which article or journalist was involved.
In a follow up after the meeting, Mason elaborated that he thought the White House considered it a role of the association to publicly reprimand its members to hold them accountable.
“I think it’s a reflection of frustration they have with the media and they’ve used the relationship with the board sometimes to take that out, just as we have raised our concern and frustrations with them. Part of that relationship has been drawing boundaries on what we do and don’t do,” Mason stated.
He said the association immediately declined the White House’s request when they asked him to release a statement on the matter.