A news reporter based in Washington, D.C., Matthew Anthony Harper, is facing the ultimate censorship by the Washington bureaucracy: exclusion from press events.
WorldNetDaily – itself a veteran of legal and bureaucratic battles over press access in the nation’s capital, once having threatened to sue all the officials of the Senate Press Gallery and ultimately winning its desired press pass – interviewed Harper, of the Christian newspaper InterMountain Christian News, whose access is now threatened.
Harper explained to WND that the White House press office is requiring him to hold a press pass with Congress and/or the Supreme Court as a condition for renewing his White House press pass.
But the congressional and Supreme Court offices have told him his news organization is funded by donations, and since he is not in attendance at those locations regularly, he does not qualify.
Harper explains that his “main news beat in Washington, D.C. is the White House” so such requirements are simply a “road block” to fair and equal access to events.
He explained, “President Trump did not have the unfair demands that the Biden administration have now. A ‘Memo to the WHCA from the Press Secretary Regarding Press Access’ during President Trump’s administration dated March 16, 2019 states the only requirement for a White House Hard Pass ‘you must cover the White House at least 50% of the time,'” he reported.
Harper has held a White House Hard Pass, which provides access to all press events there, since October 2021. But the Biden administration has announced that as of the end of July, that is canceled.
Harper, a Southern Baptist chaplain, specializes in reporting on antisemitism and other human rights issues.
The Biden White House informed Harper of its changes, saying: “All current press hard passes will expire on July 31. You will be able to request renewal of your current hard pass as described below, and any renewed passes will remain valid for one year, subject to annual renewal.”
It then requires verification letters from press organizations, which includes the referenced “accreditation” from the Supreme Court, Senate or House.
There have been multiple other conflicts with Joe Biden’s press staff. The Western Journal recently wrote how Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blew up at reporter Simon Ateba of Today News Africa.
The report explained, “Ateba has not been called on for a question by Jean-Pierre for seven months, and he has been quite vocal about it. He is actually suing the White House Correspondents Association.”
The report explained, “The reporter asks some decent questions when he does get a chance to have the floor — which is probably why he’s ignored. Sometimes he takes matters into his own hands and simply talks over others in the room. He’s a thorn in the side of Jean-Pierre and thus an ally for Americans.”
The conflict occurred when Jean-Pierre again declined to allow Ateba a question recently, and he interrupted. “You’re making a mockery of the First Amendment!” he said.
Harper, who also represents Newsrael, offers details of his proposed questions to the White House officials, in the hope that eventually he will be recognized.
One recent proposal was, “In light of President Biden developing a task force on combating antisemitism, what are his reasons for placing an antisemitic organization like C.A.I.R. on his combating antisemitism task force, supporting a deal with Iran, not supporting the full restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, not condemning BDS and funding antisemitic organizations such as the Palestinian Authority and U.N. agencies UNRWA as well as UNESCO?”
A statement to Harper from Robert Zatkowksi of the periodical press gallery claimed the publications for which Harper works do “not meet the requirements” of the rules for a press pass.
President Trump also faced a combative press, which was promoting the now-debunked “Russiagate” conspiracy against him, a conspiracy cooked up by Deep Staters in Washington and Democrats in the Hillary Clinton campaign, leading him to describe the leftist media influences as an enemy.
WND reported in 2002 on the end of its fight with Senate press officials over access. That ended when, in a 3-2 vote, the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Senate Press Gallery reversed its earlier rejection of a pass for WND.
WND’s admittance to the Senate Press Gallery, a press pass that opens the door to most government events in Washington, D.C., marked a first for an independently owned Internet newspaper, and is widely seen as a landmark case, opening the door to other online news organizations that would follow.
Lawyers for the press gallery had been told they could be sued by WND over their denial for violations of the First Amendment and more. WND later alleged discrimination by the White House Correspondents’ Association when officials there refused the publication seats at an annual dinner.
For years, WND was represented at the White House by Les Kinsolving, who was described by colleagues as a conservative gadfly, and was known for his courage to ask any question that might be needed, including questions about HIV when President Reagan was in office. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 90.
He also was a talk show personality for WCBM-AM radio for many years, and hosted the “Uninhibited Radio” for 28 years. In fact, his book, “Gadfly,” talks about “The Life and Times of Les Kinsolving, White House watchdog.”
He was trained as a minister and served as a chaplain and legislative assistant to a bishop, and later became interested in journalism, beginning as a religion writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner. One of his projects during that time was to work to expose Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple cult when it flourished in the case. Hundreds of victims of that cult died in a mass suicide in Guyana in 1978.
Ron Nessen, President Gerald Ford’s press secretary, once said, “He can be an irritant, but in my experience he often asked important questions on important issues long before other people realized they were important.”
Originally published at WND News Center.