UPDATED: Republican convention organizers have changed plans and will allow additional media outlets to report from the Rose Garden in advance of First Lady Melania Trump’s speech on Tuesday, after a contentious call with network producers that Fox News was being given special access to the site, sources said.
A correspondent and camera crew will be allowed to report from the location before the First Lady speaks. CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported from the grounds early in the evening.
The changes follow a contentious call between Republican officials and network producers on Tuesday morning, in which networks complained that Sean Hannity was being allowed access to convention sites through the week, while other networks were limited in their coverage.
On his Fox News show on Monday night, Hannity announced that he would be broadcasting live from the Rose Garden before the first lady’s speech, then to Fort McHenry in Maryland for Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on Wednesday, and to the South Lawn of the White House for President Donald Trump’s speech on Thursday.
It’s unclear whether changes also will be made to the set up for Thursday’s coverage on the South Lawn, where sources say there were spots marked off for network stand-ups. But during a walkthrough on Monday, producers spotted a platform on the other side of the lawn that was large enough to accommodate an anchor set up and camera, and after Hannity’s announcement, they figured that it was dedicated for his telecast.
The camera locations and setups are watched closely by network producers, who angle for the best camera positions and backdrops for their correspondents and anchors. In 2016, at the Wells Fargo Center for the Democratic National Convention, CNN had an extra platform for live-shot locations.
But this year is different, in that access to locations is severely limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s forced the networks to rely much more on network and party pool feeds for coverage, while convention planners in both parties have sharply restricted access to speech locations.
A spokesperson for the Republican National Convention did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The New York Times first reported on the dispute.