The White House is actively tampering with press materials, as members of the Biden administration demand that journalists send them articles with their quotes to edit before publishing, according to Politico.
"If you've read a quote from an administration official in a newspaper or a wire story recently, there's a good chance that the White House communications team had an opportunity to edit it first", the media outlet wrote on Monday. "That's because the Biden White House frequently demands that interviews with administration officials be conducted on grounds known colloquially as 'background with quote approval,' according to five reporters who cover the White House for outlets other than Politico".
According to Politico's "West Wing Playbook", to include an official's name in a story, reporters "must transcribe the quotes and then send them to the communications team to approve, veto or edit them".
"The practice allows the White House an extra measure of control as it tries to craft press coverage", the outlet wrote. "At its best, quote approval allows sources to speak more candidly about their work. At its worst, it gives public officials a way to obfuscate or screen their own admissions and words".
The West Wing Playbook confessed that it had participated in such arrangements, and noted that the practice is used by Biden's team far more frequently than it was under the Trump administration.
According to the report, some journalists "have become increasingly frustrated" by the perceived abuse of this practice.
"The rule treats them like coddled Capitol Hill pages and that's not who they are or the protections they deserve", one reporter told Politico.
Later, Press Secretary Jen Psaki commented on the issue, saying that the White House "would welcome any outlet banning the use of anonymous background quotes that attack people personally or speak to internal processes from people who don’t even work in the Administration".
"At the same time, we make policy experts available in a range of formats to ensure context and substantive detail is available for stories. If outlets are not comfortable with that attribution for those officials they of course don’t need to utilize those voices", she added.
The new US administration has faced several controversies over the media coverage of its policies - including accusations that Biden's first presidential press conference was staged, as he was spotted using cheat sheets during the event.