WH Press Pool Bristle Over Biden's Closed-for-Cameras Meeting With Pope

© AP Photo / Divisione Produzione FotograficaUS President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Pope Francis walk as they meet at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.
US President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Pope Francis walk as they meet at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
On Friday, Biden had an approximately 90-minute conversation with the head of the Catholic Church, a crucial element of his trip to Italy for the G20, which was rather unusually held without the press. Nevertheless, the president briefed reporters on the discussions with the pope.
White House reporters accompanying President Joe Biden to Italy expressed dissatisfaction on Friday with their lack of access to the Pope Francis-Biden summit.
The media was enraged by the Vatican's unexpected cancellation of a live broadcast of their meeting, given that reporters tend to complain about Biden's accessibility even back in the US.
"We're now waiting on the Vatican's TV production team to feed edited video from the only camera that taped Biden's meeting with the pope. Regrettably, no independent American journalists were permitted inside," CBS News Radio correspondent and the head of the White House Correspondents Association Steven Portnoy wrote on Twitter.
At the same time, Washington Times reporter Jeff Murdock claimed that the summit was an "embarrassment for the freedom of the press." He also took a jab at White House press secretary Jen Psaki in his Twitter post regarding his disappointment over such a "disgraceful" incident.
"Today's Biden-Pope Francis summit is an embarrassment for the freedom of the press," he wrote. "@PressSec dodged questions about press access and then meekly hid behind the Vatican, throwing up her hands with a "don't blame us" attitude."
However, both reporters' followers noted to the frustrated journalists that the nature of the meeting was primarily personal, and that it was even understandable that of all the cameras, reportedly only Vatican ones were allowed at the meeting, given who was visiting whom.
Pope Francis meets U.S. President Joe Biden at the Vatican, October 29, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
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But, in recent years when heads of state have visited the Vatican, it has been customary to have live television broadcasts to all reporters present.
This, perhaps, prompted many journalists present in Rome to complain about what they described as a "violation of freedom of the press."
Biden is the country's second Catholic president. According to Biden's summary of the meeting to the press, Pope Francis told him that he should keep receiving communion and that the subject of abortion rights in the US was not brought up.
"We just talked about the fact that he was happy I'm a good Catholic," Biden said. "And I should keep receiving communion."
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