Reporters who have covered the Obama presidency say the quote-approval process fits a pattern by this White House of finding new ways to limit its exposure in the news media.
Modern White Houses have long had “background briefings,” gatherings of top officials who speak to reporters under the condition that they are quoted anonymously.
Under President Obama, the insistence on blanket anonymity has grown to new levels.
The White House’s latest innovation is a variation of the background briefing called the “deep-background briefing,” which it holds for groups of reporters, sometimes several dozen at a time. Reporters may paraphrase what senior administration officials say, but they are forbidden to put anything in quotation marks or identify the speakers.