OAN Reporter Attends Press Conference After Network’s Removal by Correspondents Association

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
April 3, 2020Updated: April 3, 2020

A reporter with One America News Network (OAN) attended the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Thursday night, one day after the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) removed her network from its rotation of reporters covering the briefing.

“Jonathan Karl, an ABC News reporter and president of the WHCA, said in a statement to news outlets that he asked Grisham to make Rion sit in a section of seating reserved for White House guests,” Charles Herring, CEO of OAN, said in an statement emailed to The Epoch Times on Friday.

Chanel Rion, the reporter, stood in the back of the briefing room and was called on by President Donald Trump. She asked Trump about his potentially using the Defense Production Act for things other than masks and ventilators.

Jared Kusher, Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, answered the question, explaining how officials are spending time trying to pin down what quantity of supplies state officials actually need, versus what they’re asking for out of concern for the future.

The WHCA said this week that OAN was being removed from its rotation because Rion twice violated social distancing policies enacted based on guidance from federal health officials. She also attended briefings despite not being assigned a seat in the briefing room.

Epoch Times Photo
Senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner speaks, flanked by (L-R) response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx, Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, during the daily briefing on the CCP virus in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on April 2, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Rion noted that video footage showed other reporters and photographers were violating the guidelines and that she was an invited guest of White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

The White House didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

Herring told Epoch Times that members of the association “were aware that Ms. Rion was extended an invitation by Stephanie Grisham, but took retaliatory action anyway.”

Grisham invited Rion again on Thursday, according to the reporter and Herring.

Every seat in the briefing room is typically taken but the number of correspondents allowed in the room has been cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 14 seats are available now for the daily briefing, prompting a rotation among print, radio, and television news outlets.

OAN is a television broadcaster based in California.

Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump speaks about the CCP virus in the James Brady Briefing Room in Washington on March 23, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

Jonathan Karl, an ABC News reporter and president of the WHCA, said in a statement to news outlets that he asked Grisham to make Rion sit in a section of seating reserved for White House guests.

“In order to comply with the social distancing guidelines, and to take steps to ensure the health and safety of the press corps and White House staff, there is no room for reporters who do not have an assigned seat today, or on any given day, to be standing in the briefing room,” he said in a statement.

“If somebody is to be a guest of the White House, they should be sitting in the seats to the side, which are set aside for White House staff.”