When the press first raised questions about why Jim Guckert had been awarded access to the White House press room for two years running while he worked for Talon News, critics charged that Talon, with its amateurish standards and close working ties to Republican activists, did not qualify as a legitimate news organization. It turns out the truth is even stranger: Guckert was waved into the White House while working for an even more blatantly partisan organization, GOPUSA.
This is not how the White House press office has traditionally worked. "When I was there we didn't let political operatives in. It was completely contrary to what the press room should be used for," says Joe Lockhart, who served as White House press secretary to President Clinton during his second term. Asked what would have happened if a reporter from a clearly partisan operation, say "Democrats Today," had requested a White House press pass, Lockhart said that if the chief of the Democratic National Committee were attending an event at the White House, then perhaps the Democrats Today reporter might be allowed in for that one day. "But to be admitted as a reporter and sit in a chair and act like a reporter" for months on end the way Guckert did? "No," said Lockhart, "that's not within the realm of what [is] proper."
It's a good article. And it sums up the issues thoroughly and succinctly.