The White House Releases New Press Briefing Rules That Say Reporters Press Passes Can Be Revoked

The administration announced on Monday that CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass has been restored, after a short federal lawsuit against the administration, CNN reported. On the same day, the White House released new press conference rules for reporters. 

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an official statement that, “should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above. The President is aware of this decision and concurs.” 

White House reporters are now required to follow new and specific rules, which include limiting reporters to one question and “yielding to the floor.”

“We have created these rules with a degree of regret,” Sanders said, according to USA Today. “We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference. But, given the position taken by CNN, we now feel obligated to replace previously shared practices with explicit rules.”

According to Sanders, a reporter can only ask “a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists.”  Next, “at the discretion of the president or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted. When a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor.” In the third rule Sanders clarifies that “yielding the floor” could entail “physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.” The final rule warns that any reporter who fails to follow the rules will have his or her hard pass suspended or revoked. 

“If unprofessional behavior occurs in those settings, or if a court should decide that explicit rules are required to regulate conduct there, we will be forced to reconsider this decision,” Sanders said, according to USA Today

The new rules have been criticized by journalists and others. 

There have been rules in place for White House reporters in the past, but they have never emphasized the suspension and revoking of press passes. As of right now, Acosta has yet to respond to the administration's new rules, but he did tweet following his announcement that it was time to “get back to work.”