Dana Milbank, the Clown Prince of the Washington Post, has had his White House press pass revoked. He complains about it in this column.
Milbank says “he strongly suspects” that he lost his pass because “I’m a Trump critic.” This is a serious charge. The White House shouldn’t revoke press passes because of the political bent of the holder or the content of his writing about the president.
However, Milbank fails to make much of a case that this happened to him.
He lost his pass pursuant to a new policy stemming from CNN’s legal action to restore James Acosta’s pass. The judge in that case stated that the White House’s process for revoking Acosta’s access was “shrouded in mystery.”
In response the White House established a standard. Credentials are to be retained only by those who are in the building at least 90 out of the previous 180 days.
According to Milbank, that’s a “nearly impossible” standard to meet. I’m not sure why. If a reporter is covering the White House, why shouldn’t he be present on most working days?
In any event, the White House decided to grant exceptions for “senior journalists” who are “consistently engaged in covering the White House” and for those “with special circumstances.” Under this test, all seven of the reporters assigned by the Washington Post to the White House got press passes, but Milbank did not.
In his column, Milbank makes no argument that he meets the test for obtaining an exception. Indeed, it seems clear that he is not “consistently engaged in covering the White House” (he is consistently engaged in bashing President Trump, but that’s not the same thing).
Apparently, Milbank showed up at the White House only seven times during the 180-day period analyzed. He says that foot surgeries limited his ability to appear there, but acknowledges he’s never come close to meeting the 90 day standard.
On these facts, there is no reason to believe that Milbank lost out because he’s anti-Trump. I know that at least some of the seven Washington Post reporters who kept their credentials are “Trump critics” in their reporting, albeit not in the distinctively nasty way Milbank is.
The key, though, is that the seven are reporters, not opinion writing performers like Milbank. If Milbank can identify reporters who consistently cover the White House and have been denied a press pass or opinion writers more noticeably sympathetic than he is to Trump who have been granted one, he might have a case.
Milbank does neither in his column. Thus, as far as the reader can tell, all he has is a moan.