Roberts Hearts Media Fringe

So maybe the young John Roberts made indelicate jokes about career women. In 1983, as an aide to Ronald Reagan's attorney general William French Smith, he took an influential stand on an issue near and dear to the blogger's heart: Free White House access for semi-employed freaks playing at being reporters. The Gipper's press secretary Larry Speakes was feeling beseiged with press pass requests from " 'fringe' news organizations and hit upon a plan to charge White House correspondents for the passes. Roberts fired off a memo declaring it a "terrible idea" noting that it was both hostile to the First Amendment and distinctly impolitic:

The administration, however unfairly, is acquiring the image of being opposed to press freedoms. ... Striking the press corps close to home as Speakes envisions would simply provide a focal point for editorials and reportage on this theme

He went on to add, "What's more, I can envision a day in the not-too distant future when studly male escorts from entirely news kinds of media will frolic through our briefings to parrot pre-approved administration talking points." At which point his eyes misted over and he was heard to mutter "Jeff. . . ."

Roberts Wary of Rankling the Press in 1983 [AP, via WaPo]


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