White House Journalists Urge CNN to Widen Debate Access

A group of senior journalists sent a letter to CNN on Wednesday urging the network to grant additional press access to the debate.

The letter, which was signed by journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press, implored CNN to grant access to a pool reporter, a representative from a coalition of news organizations who can gather information on their behalf.

The letter notes that access for a reporter from the White House Correspondents’ Association was granted in an earlier era, when the debates were hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“During the commission era, a pool was inside the venue and able to document the scene, including news that happened that was not on camera. As you know, there is more to the debate than what will be seen on television,” the letter stated.

CNN declined to comment. Its rules specify that the debate will be held in a CNN studio closed to the news media, although access will be given to a pool of still photographers. A print pool reporter will also be given access during the commercial breaks.

On Thursday, the White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” about the lack of access to the debate.

“The White House pool has a duty to document, report and witness the president’s events and his movements on behalf of the American people,” the statement said.

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