Media Letting Biden Officials Edit Their Own Quotes in News Stories


Journalists are allowing Biden administration officials to edit their own quotations in news stories ahead of publication.

The practice: The White House often demands that interviews with administration officials be conducted on “background with quote approval,” Politico’s West Wing Playbook newsletter reported Monday, citing five reporters from other news outlets.

  • That means reporters can only attach officials’ names to quotations after the White House communications has a chance to “approve, veto or edit” the words, according to Politico.

Journalists have long granted White Houses quote approval, the reporters said, but the arrangement has gotten out of hand during the Biden administration

  • “It’s a pernicious, insidious, awful practice that reporters should resist,” said New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker.
  • Nonetheless, Baker admitted he has agreed to quote approval before, and the West Wing Playbook staff said they had granted it to the Biden White House just “the other week.”

White House press secretary Psaki responded in a statement: “We make policy experts available in a range of formats to ensure context and substantive detail is available for stories. If outlets are not comfortable with that attribution for those officials they of course don’t need to utilize those voices.”

The reaction: The revelation of cozy relations between the Biden White House and the media was widely condemned on Twitter, but many conservatives commentators were unsurprised.

Last week, The Washingtonian published an article headlined “The Awkward Feeling of Rooting for the White House Press Secretary,” in which White House correspondents gushed about working with Psaki.

  • “She’s a pro, you know?” Baker was quoted as saying.
By Jude Russo