The case for why InfoWars’ White House press pass is a good thing

InfoWars is the fringe right-wing outlet best known for spreading 9/11 Truther theories, the scurrilous idea that the massacre at Sandy Hook was a hoax, and a founder who has ranted about malevolent forces conspiring to put things in the water to “turn the freaking frogs gay.”

On Monday, it got a press pass.

On top of that, the reporter who got the pass was Jerome Corsi, one of the chief forces behind the utterly untrue idea, rooted in racism, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

There will be some people who will tell you it’s a bad thing that InfoWars and Corsi got this pass, that this is a pernicious move by the Trump White House and you should be upset about it. They’re wrong. It’s fine — a good thing, even.

It’s important, first off, to understand that the White House Press Briefing Room is not some sacrosanct space, restricted only to the best reporters from the most prestigious outlets.

Though there are somewhat stricter standards for those with permanent “hard” passes, almost anyone can get a temporary day pass (which is the kind Corsi appears to have obtained) allowing them into the room, and then get another of those passes and another and so on indefinitely. There’s a long history of reporters coming in from out of left field, representing small or even possibly non-existent outlets. Some of them have been regular presences in White House briefings for years.

This laissez faire attitude regarding who is given access to the briefing room — everyone who can make some sort of claim to being a journalist and who isn’t a security risk — is the right one. It’s easy to say that the White House could make the obvious judgment call that InfoWars is not a credible source of news, but it’s also very easy to imagine how a White House asked to exercise that kind of power could quickly come to abuse it.

There will be some people who will tell you it’s a bad thing that InfoWars and Corsi got this pass, that this is a pernicious move by the Trump White House and you should be upset about it. They’re wrong. It’s fine — a good thing, even.

On top of that, the InfoWars reporter who got the pass was Jerome Corsi, one of the chief forces behind the utterly untrue idea, rooted in racism, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

 

 

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