Joe Biden’s transition team has disabled the chat function for virtual press conferences hosted on Zoom after several reporters publicly used the forum to urge the president-elect to take more questions from the press.
“The Biden transition team appears to have disabled the public chat function on its transition zoom calls, a place where I and others had been routinely complaining to them to take more questions,” Sam Stein, Politico’s incoming White House editor, wrote on social media earlier this week:
The Biden transition team appears to have disabled the public chat function on its transition zoom calls, a place where I and others had been routinely complaining to them to take more questions.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) December 30, 2020
The move came after numerous outlets raised concerns that the Biden and his transition team were not treating all members of the press equitably.
Last month, Fox News reported that some members of the press had become “frustrated” with what they saw as the Biden team playing favorites when it came to doling out opportunities to ask questions at press events. The outlet, in particular, noted that the “New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, PBS, and Politico” were called on to ask questions at nearly every press event, while other media sources were routinely ignored.
This is not the first time that Biden and his team have drawn the ire of the media. Throughout most of the 2020 campaign, the president-elect took part in few media or press events. Biden’s withdrawal from the public sphere was most notable after the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In the months between the start of the outbreak and the Democratic National Convention, Biden hunkered down at his Delaware home, maintaining a low profile apart from virtual fundraisers and live streams. The avoidance of press events has lured the attention of President Donald Trump’s campaign, which claimed Biden’s staff was keeping him away from the media because of the candidate’s penchant for gaffes and verbal missteps.