The White House dispute with Fox News took a new turn yesterday regarding an interview with an administration official and the White House press pool.
The administration offered up “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg for one-on-one network interviews to be shot by the pool, but tried to block Fox News. FoxNews.com reports:
But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.
The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.
While this could be seen as a display of solidarity from the other networks, a D.C. network insider tells TVNewser the news divisions were not necessarily taking a stand and siding with Fox when they refused the interviews, but that it was more of a financial decision.
The pool is paid for by and rotates between ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC, allowing each network to do quick interviews using the same camera crew. If the White House were to exclude one of the members, the other networks would have to provide their own crew for the interview.
There are financial and contractual arrangements and obligations between the networks when the pool is involved that would override any opinion the networks and bureau chiefs might have with the White House’s position on Fox. Under that official arrangement, everyone has to be treated equally.
Of course, there are plenty of newsers and critics who have expressed discomfort with the White House getting involved in media criticism and singling out one organization.
You can see FNC’s reporting on the issue from last night’s “Special Report” after the jump…