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7 Dec, 2021 16:58

Questions raised over reports WH briefing newsrooms to ‘reshape’ economic coverage

Questions raised over reports WH briefing newsrooms to ‘reshape’ economic coverage

A newsletter from two CNN journalists has raised eyebrows after revealing that White House officials are holding briefings with major US newsrooms in an effort to “reshape their economic coverage.”

On Monday evening, CNN journalists Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy reported on the White House’s ‘quiet’ strategy to influence coverage. The CNN newsletter notes that the Biden administration is “not happy” with negative media coverage of how it is handling the economy.

To battle the negative press, senior White House officials have been visiting newsrooms to hold briefings in an effort to “reshape” mainstream coverage, according to a source.

Darcy said his source had told him the conversations between White House officials and members of the media had been “productive,” with “anchors, reporters and producers getting to talk with the officials.” He said the government representatives had sought to emphasize that the economy was in better shape than it had been last year, when Donald Trump was in the White House. 

The Biden administration has faced a backlash for months over the ballooning prices impacting various industries, with gas prices even averaging over a dollar more than last year. Those costs, combined with supply chain issues and record inflation, have created a series of crises that the White House has chalked up to the Covid-19 pandemic and increased demand in the market. 

The idea of the White House directly influencing news coverage of their own controversies set off alarm bells with pundits on social media. Many critics also noted the CNN journalists’ apparent lack of concern at the potential political influence the administration was seeking to have over the media.

“Working with government to produce propaganda to reshape public opinion isn’t exactly something to brag about, Oliver,” one Twitter user wrote in response to Darcy. 

“This sounds a lot like the start of a state propaganda rollout and the media is just proudly admitting they’re part of it,” another added.