Radio talk show host Bill Press has become an intern for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-V.T.), the liberal commentator told the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
The move is not some impulsive late-career change on Press's part. Rather, it is an effort to make it easier for him to report from Capitol Hill.
On December 8, Press was denied a request for media credentials from the Congressional Radio-Television Galleries, effectively limiting the type of on-the-ground journalism he was hoping to do on the Hill. Soon thereafter, the radio host petitioned Sanders for an internship with his staff in hopes of circumventing the red tape.
"I am officially a Senate intern of Bernie Sanders'," Press told HuffPost. "I am his in-house Senate reporter. Basically, I'm reporting on news from Capitol Hill."
Press, who moved to Washington D.C. in 1996 to take over the liberal post of the now-defunct CNN program "Crossfire," says that he will cover news conferences and hearings for Sanders staff. Naturally, the material will also be used for his morning radio program. "There is more than one way to skin a cat," said Press.
Conventional efforts to gain access to the Hill on Press's part were rejected after the seven-member executive committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Galleries determined that his program was too aligned with political advocacy. Specifically, the committee pointed to language on the radio host's website urging viewers to call Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and convince the lawmaker to support health care reform.
In an interview with Politico, Press pointed out that several members who denied him entry work for notably political outlets, including Salem Radio Network -- an organization that hosts such conservative talkers as Hugh Hewitt, Bill Bennett and Michael Medved.
Press is still looking to get credentialed, which is likely when a new board is instituted. Until then, he is assuming the role that is traditionally filled by wide-eyed college students. Only, he will share his experience with a massive radio audience and not merely his immediate family.
"Given my record [with the board] I was quite nervous I would be rejected [by Sanders]," Press jokingly said. "Now I'm proud to be the newest member of Bernie's staff."