Bloomberg: Helen Thomas's Seat 'Should Be Awarded On Merit,' Not To Fox News
Bloomberg News is making its case to the White House Correspondents Association board that it, and not Fox News, should be granted Helen Thomas's front-row seat in the White House Briefing Room.
Thomas's sudden retirement means that the seat is up for grabs, and Fox News and Bloomberg are the two frontrunners for the seat.
In a letter to WHCA board members, Executive Editor Al Hunt and Washington Bureau Chief Michael Tackett argue that "on the merits, Bloomberg is the natural choice" for Thomas's seat.
"Bloomberg is the fastest growing news organization in the world," the letter states. "We have covered the President full time since 1993, and have been a regular member of the pool for more than 12 years."
In 2007, CNN was granted a front-row seat over Fox News on the grounds that it had covered the White House longer. CNN's Senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, recently came out and said Fox News deserves the seat now because they bowed out gracefully in 2007.
"They did the gentlemanly thing and said CNN had more seniority," Henry, who is a WHCA board member, said of Fox News. "I've got to honor that commitment."
Bloomberg argues that seniority should not factor into the board's decision — but that, if it does, "Bloomberg started covering the White House full time before Fox News existed."
"More worrisome, the Fox News official claims they're entitled to this seat because of commitments -- mostly verbal -- that were made in 2007," the Bloomberg letter states. "Whatever the board decides, awarding a seat because of earlier sentiments would be a terrible precedent."
Bloomberg also uses comments "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace made last week to imply that Fox News is too biased to deserve a front-row seat.
"Among the earlier supporters [Fox News claims] is Helen Thomas," the letter states. "Yet only a week ago a top Fox News anchorman, in a broadcast interview, declared it would be 'poetic justice' to give Helen's seat to Fox as she was left-leaning, and presumably Fox the opposite."
The letter closes by reiterating Bloomberg's view that the seat should be awarded "on merit, the journalistic contribution that the occupant of that valued seat will make to the briefings and to informing the public."
The letter appears below: