According to Liberty Writers:

“The Obama administration made a deliberate effort to exclude Fox News from a press pool during the height of its war with the network, newly released documents show,” the Daily Beast reported.

Is this claim true?

  • 6
    What documents does it reference?
    – rougon
    Feb 24, 2017 at 23:35

3 Answers 3


The referenced Daily Beast article is still available online, as is their source, a post by Judicial Watch.

The issue in question was in 2009, when the White House wanted Feinberg to do interviews with the major news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN), but excluded Fox News. They originally claimed that this was a mistake, but as the documents obtained by Judicial Watch show, this was done deliberately:

we'd prefer if you skip Fox please

Regarding the broader claim of hypocrisy and CNN not reacting to the issue:

[ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN] unanimously said, instantly, no, that's not gonna fly. Either Fox is in or none of us is doing it" source

Ultimately, Feinberg was available for an interview with Fox News.

  • 3
    Thanks for posting the link to the docs! I think two things need to be clarified here in relation to the question: 1. This was the Treasury Department, not the White House (the question is whether the "Obama administration" did this, which is a rather general subject)., 2. That they did not try to ban anyone from the press pool, but to have have one person not do an interview with Fox News.
    – rougon
    Feb 25, 2017 at 13:31
  • 1
    @rougon 1. The mail asking to exclude Fox is from Dag Vega, who was the "Director of Broadcast Media on the White House staff", so "Obama administration" sounds close enough to me. 2. From what I understand, this was about a "round-robin interview", where there is one camera and the different news networks can each ask one or two questions. (see eg here). If this is exclusion from the "press pool" seems to be a matter of definition (I don't think so, but I'd rather not include that).
    – tim
    Feb 25, 2017 at 13:40
  • 3
    @DavidGrinberg Depends on how much you want to play semantics. "Intentionally exclude" is ostensibly different from "ban", the latter being what the OP title question asks, and the former being what the OP text asks about. One can also take umbrage with thinking "one excluded interview handled by the Treasury Department, not the Obama Administration" means "a systemic effort at banning conducted by the Obama Administration". Feb 25, 2017 at 17:14
  • 1
    I fail to see the difference between "intentionally exclude" and "ban". Also the treasury department is under the purview of the president, and Obama did not force his subordinates to accept all media outlets as far as I can tell. Feb 25, 2017 at 17:27
  • 5
    @DavidGrinberg, no, it's a clear "no". The Obama administration did not attempt to ban Fox from the Press Pool, which is the question. Did one person (Dag Vega) in the administration seek to not include Fox in one interview which only included a very small list of networks? To that the answer is "yes", but it's not the question which was asked. Feb 27, 2017 at 13:58

Treasury department - not White House?

Mediaite article:

First of all, Fox omitted the fact that it was the Treasury Department that handled the interviews, not the White House. They also failed to produce the press announcement for the event, which Mediaite has obtained, or any direct quotes from the bureau chiefs involved. Most glaring, to me, was the fact that they didn’t initially interview Major Garrett who conducted the Feinberg interview, for their report. Garrett later filed a report on the incident, providing a much fairer account than that first report. Still, he doesn’t address whether Fox requested the interview.

Later in the same source:

The White House, for its part, isn’t looking to make nice with Fox News, telling TPM “This White House has demonstrated our willingness to exclude Fox News from newsmaking interviews, but yesterday we did not.”


Fox News correspondent James Rosen claimed that they tried to exclude them from the White House pool.

James Rosen reported on the incident during FNC’s Special Report last night, saying the White House pool, which is a five-network rotation “that for decades has shared the cost and duties of daily coverage of the presidency, to which Fox News has belonged since 1997,” was told the pay czar would be available for round-robin interviews, but FNC would not be included. “The Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV news networks [ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC] consulted and decided that none of them would interview Feinberg unless Fox was included, and the administration relented,” said Rosen.


  • 6
    A story the next day from the same source revises a lot of those facts. mediaite.com/columnists/… Ultimately, Fox is the only source for the claim.
    – rougon
    Feb 25, 2017 at 1:39
  • 1
    You say that Fox was excluded from the press pool, but as I understand it, Fox wasn't excluded from the press pool, but the white house did not send some person to do an interview with Fox. Am I misunderstanding something here, or are you summarizing this wrong?
    – tim
    Feb 25, 2017 at 11:05

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