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White House Refutes Claims It Tried to Block Fox from Feinberg Interview

garrettfnc_10-24.jpgMore information is coming out now about Thursday’s incident involving the White House, Fox News, and the pool.

On Friday, WH spokesperson Josh Earnest told Politico, “This White House has demonstrated our willingness to do a round of interviews with a range of networks but not Fox,” and, “Clearly, that didn’t happen [Thursday].”

TPMDC reports that the Treasury department made “pay czar” Ken Feinberg available for TV interviews to the networks that requested them, which did not include Fox initially:

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who’d asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

A Treasury spokesperson told Mediaite, “There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing.”

This would refute claims yesterday that Fox was initially barred from interviewing Feinberg and that the White House only relented after pressure from the other networks. Though, CBS’s Chip Reid said in a report last night, “All the networks said, that’s it you crossed the line.” Clip after the jump.

Fox New’s Garrett reported on FNC yesterday that “The White House says it was more a misunderstanding” and that “In this current context, it looked like, for a time, and the pool considered it to be a premeditated attempt to exclude Fox. It was rapidly resolved. Fox did get an interview, that’s the part the White House would like to focus on.”

As for the involvement of the other networks, Garrett said, “The networks have a responsibilty, a contract, an understanding with the five, that if you’re going to use one camera or a set of cameras from one network to do the work of the other four…then all five must be included.” That clip is also after the jump.


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