- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A journalists’ group lodged a complaint Tuesday against the Obama White House, which bills itself as the most transparent in history, for shutting out some members of the press from a meeting between President Obama and the surviving Apollo 11 astronauts.

CBS News reporter Major Garrett, representing the White House Correspondents’ Association, informed White House press secretary Josh Earnest of the formal complaint at the daily press briefing. Mr. Garrett said the decision to allow only still photographers to record the meeting as a photo-op “limits television coverage” of a newsworthy event.

Print journalists also were excluded from the Oval Office meeting. This week marked the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming the first men to walk on the moon.

Mr. Earnest said he “understood” journalists’ concerns.

“These are legitimate American heroes, on that you and I can agree,” Mr. Earnest said.

Mr. Earnest also denied a suggestion from a reporter that the White House didn’t want TV coverage of the meeting because Mr. Armstrong, who has since died, was critical of the president for cutting back on the U.S. space program.

“Absolutely not,” Mr. Earnest said.

In a statement after the meeting with the Apollo 11 team, the president called their achievement “a seminal moment not just in our country’s history, but the history of all humankind.”