Fox Moves to Front Row, But AP Gets Helen Thomas’ WH Seat

August 2, 2010

(ChattahBox)—A game of musical chairs in the White House briefing room ended Sunday, with Fox News landing a front row seat, but not the coveted seat vacated by Helen Thomas’ resignation. The Associated Press now holds Thomas’ prized seat, with NPR now filling AP’s former second row seat. Fox News had been lobbying heavily for Thomas’ seat, with a liberal group lobbying equally as hard to prevent a “right-wing propaganda operation” from obtaining it. If this all sounds like arcane inside the Beltway maneuvering, you would be correct, but status is everything in Washington and the news organizations holding front row seats are viewed as heavy-hitters.

The White House Correspondents Association voted unanimously to place Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, the self-described “voice of opposition” to the Obama administration, in the front row.

According to the report by The Hill:

“Fox News will replace the AP in its former seat, also in the front row, and NPR, which lobbied for Thomas’ seat along with Fox and Bloomberg News, will take Fox’s former seat in the second row.The 2010-2011 WHCA board includes representatives from USA Today, Reuters, C-SPAN, the New York Times, Politico, Time Magazine, NPR and the DC Examiner.”

The liberal group Credo Action launched a petition campaign in support of NPR receiving Thomas’ center front row seat, decrying Fox News as a propaganda outlet:

“FOX News is a right-wing propaganda operation, not a legitimate news organization. Award the seat vacated by Helen Thomas to NPR, which has provided public interest coverage of the presidency and the White House for almost four decades.”

Although Fox News still moved to the front and NPR was not awarded Thomas’ perch, the group is claiming a moral victory today, taking comfort in the fact that at least Fox News is not front and center:

“While we’re disappointed that the seat did not go to NPR, we’re delighted the board found a way to avoid giving the coveted front row center seat to FOX. No doubt our pressure made a huge difference. We need the country’s most influential reporters to put journalistic principles before any kind of loyalty they feel to fellow members of the elite club which is the White House press corps.”

And so it goes.


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