According to a report by The Washington Post on February 26 local time, the White House Press Office said that from March 1, journalists entering the White House for news coverage will be charged $170 per person for coronavirus testing.
The move was opposed by the White House Journalists Association.
The report pointed out that dozens of journalists went to the White House every day for daily coverage, and the White House required all personnel to be tested for the novel coronavirus before entering the White House site.
So far, the cost of testing has been borne by the White House, but White House officials believe that the measure has strained the budget of the White House, so they hope that news agencies will bear the cost of coronavirus testing alone.
The White House Journalists Association strongly opposed the move.
The association said that the initiative would impose an economic burden on news organizations, especially those that are smaller and lack funds.
And the high cost of testing will also impose a heavy burden on large news organizations, such as some TV and online media, some media may send up to eight different staff to the White House every day to report, which will cost $1,360 a day.
News outlets in the U.S. have long been paying a lot of money to cover White House news events, according to reports.
For example, when journalists ride Air Force One with the president, the White House charges additional fees to reporters, who also need to pay extra for temporary office space and meals.
The Washington Post quoted a member of the White House Journalists Association as saying that the White House’s move brought economic tests to journalists who interviewed White House news.
Against the press association, White House officials this week agreed that journalists and other peer interviewers could choose to undergo external coronavirus tests and carry certificates, and to conduct free coronavirus testing for the very few journalists authorized to accompany the president and those who attend the daily regular press conferences.
Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, the White House currently allows up to 80 staff members of news organizations every day, including reporters in the briefing room and staff in the back work area, as well as cameramen outside the Oval Office on the North Lawn.
At present, the number of journalists attending the daily regular press conference is limited to less than 14.