Radio-TV Correspondents’ Association Warns Of “Troubling Situation”

>UPDATE 3:12 pm: From the Radio-TV Correspondents’ Association:

    Dear Members of the Radio-TV Correspondents’ Association,

    I just wanted to pass along some very good news.

    Shortly after our letter regarding the severely limited TV coverage of today’s conference committee meeting on the Iraq supplemental was delivered to Chairman Obey, he decided to fully open the meeting to TV cameras. C-SPAN will now provide pool coverage of the proceedings.

    The Executive Committee is extremely pleased to hear of this development.

    We will continue to work on behalf of every member of the Association to make sure we all have equal access when covering the U.S. Congress.

    Steve Chaggaris, CBS News
    Chairman, Executive Committee of Correspondents

>UPDATE 2:15PM: From a source, “it is official…they’re letting c-span provide pool coverage of the whole meeting….”

>UPDATE 2:12 PM: FishbowlDC has learned that Obey has relented and will allow cameras…developing…

Today, CBS’ Steve Chaggaris sent out the following email to the Radio-TV Correspondents’ Association, regarding David Obey’s decision not to allow cameras this afternoon during the conference committee on the bill to end the war in Iraq.

    From: House RadioTV
    Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 12:45 PM
    Subject: Iraq Supplemental conference meeting coverage

    Dear Members of the Radio-TV Correspondents’ Association,

    I want to apprise you of a troubling situation regarding House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey’s decision this morning to deny television coverage of today’s Iraq Supplemental Appropriations conference meeting.

    While a photo-op at the top of the meeting has been approved, TV cameras will be kicked out after the photo-op as other press without camera equipment will be allowed to stay and cover the meeting in its entirety. As you know, this creates an uneven playing field as it will provide certain members of the press full access to these official proceedings while excluding others. Even more importantly, this action clearly does not live up to House Speaker Pelosi’s promise of a new era of transparency and openness in the Congress, particularly as it relates to the war in Iraq.

    This morning, the Executive Committee sent a formal letter of protest to Chairman Obey and Speaker Pelosi expressing our opposition to this decision. (A copy of that letter is attached to this e-mail.)

    The Executive Committee will continue its ongoing efforts to ensure all reporters have equal access and rights when covering the United States Congress.

    Steve Chaggaris, CBS News
    Chairman, Executive Committee of Correspondents

Read the letter here.