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NPR vs. Fox News for White House Press Seat

Coveted briefing room spot vacated by Helen Thomas will be filled Sunday

The seat unceremoniously vacated by Helen Thomas in the White House Briefing Room is up for grabs, and the White House Correspondents Association is scheduled to make its decision in a vote on Sunday.

Which means there is a lot of eleventh hour campaigning going on.

The final contenders for the seat appear to be Bloomberg News, Fox News and NPR.

That Fox News could claim the front-row position at White House briefings doesn’t sit well with some progressives. One group called CREDO Action has petitioned the association to give it to NPR – and not, under any circumstances, Fox.

“FOX News is not a legitimate news organization,” CREDO political director Becky Bond wrote in a letter sent to WHCA board members. “It produces conservative propaganda under the guise of news, and has been instrumental in the organization of the Tea Party movement. If we look at recent weeks alone, FOX has been involved in race-baiting smear campaigns targeting Shirley Sherrod and the Department of Justice that were planted by right-wing operatives. This is not the work of a news organization. This is right-wing propaganda.”

She continued: “NPR has been providing public interest coverage of the presidency and the White House for almost four decades. NPR clearly deserves to sit in the front row of the White House press briefing room. FOX does not.”

Fox did not return a request for comment.

Here is the letter in full:

Dear [WHCA Board Member],

Yesterday, CREDO Action alerted our membership about the upcoming meeting of the White House Correspondents Association at which your organization will select a news outlet to occupy the front row seat recently vacated by Helen Thomas.

In the last 36 hours, 189,000 people have signed a petition to the White House Correspondents Association that reads:

"FOX News is a right-wing propaganda operation, not a legitimate news organization. Award the seat vacated by Helen Thomas to NPR, which has provided public interest coverage of the presidency and the White House for almost four decades."

I wanted to let you know that we have overnighted for Friday morning delivery copies of our petition to the officers of the WHCA board, including David Jackson of USA TODAY, Caren Bohan of Reuters, Steve Scully of C-SPAN, Doug Mills of the New York Times, along with executive director Julia Whitson.

We understand that a number of organizations are vying for this front row seat including FOX News, Bloomberg News and NPR.

FOX News is not a legitimate news organization. It produces conservative propaganda under the guise of news, and has been instrumental in the organization of the Tea Party movement. If we look at recent weeks alone, FOX has been involved in race-baiting smear campaigns targeting Shirley Sherrod and the Department of Justice that were planted by right-wing operatives. This is not the work of a news organization. This is right-wing propaganda.

NPR has been providing public interest coverage of the presidency and the White House for almost four decades. NPR clearly deserves to sit in the front row of the White House press briefing room. FOX does not.

Thousands more people are signing every hour. Literally the petition signatures are coming in faster than we can print them. If you'd like to read the petition online, you can find it here:

http://www.credoaction.com/nprnotfox

We will send WHCA board officers and executive director Julia Whitson updates on our progress leading up to the vote on Sunday. But I wanted to alert you of the growing public sentiment opposing putting a FOX News reporter in the best seat in the White House press briefing room.

If you have any questions about our campaign, don't hesitate to email me at bbond@credomobile.com or contact me by phone at 415.595.0040.

Sincerely,
Becky Bond
Political Director, CREDO Action

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