White House “Stenographers” Aren’t Stenographers at All

By Bill Parsons. White House “Stenographers” are electronic court reporters and not stenotype court reporters, despite their erroneous name.

The Marine Corps Band is referred to as “The President’s Own.” Well, electronic reporters can be referred to as “The President’s Own” when it comes to their recording and transcribing the president’s statements.

On October 23rd, 2013 Time Magazine ran a beautiful article commemorating White House “Stenographer” Peggy Suntum’s thirty years of employment at the White House.

Stenotype court reporting associations, stenotype court reporting schools and a past president of the National Court Reporters Association immediately laid claim to the White House “Stenographer” being one of their own stenotype court reporters.

The True Story of White House “Stenographers”

White House Stenographers are electronic court reporters and have absolutely no connection to stenotype court reporters whatsoever.

Several articles on White House “Stenographers” have appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers over the years, and all the articles attest to White House Stenographers being electronic reporters and having no connection to stenotype reporters whatsoever.

Ellen Eckert was a White House “Stenographer” for twenty years from 1991 to 2001 when she last held that job in the Obama administration, but rather than being a Stenograph machine operator, she was an electronic reporter, one of four at that time who recorded and transcribed statements by the President and senior staff.

A Chicago native, Ellen began her White House E-Reporting with the first President Bush, continued during the Clinton Administration, and is now in her fifth year working with our current President. She accompanies the President on every Air Force One trip, as well as to his official Camp David meetings.

During Ellen’s time at the White House, the White House “Stenographers” also recorded press briefings and statements by the Vice-President and Mrs. Bush.

There was a live feed from the White House Communications Office to the E-Reporters.

During Ellen’s tenure White House E-Reporters used analog cassettes, and the transcripts were placed in the National Archives as part of the permanent record of the presidency.

In 2005 a 13-page article on Ex-White House “Stenographer” Marcia Baggot appeared at the blog Frederickburg.com.

In that article Ex-White House Stenographer Marcia Baggot said the following:

“We didn’t use stenotype machines, like you see in all the movie and TV courtroom dramas. Rather, we made tape recordings or were provided tapes–usually by the White House Communications Agency, which was staffed by the military and oversaw our contract, but sometimes by the TV networks–and transcribed from those.”

On August 23, 2013 Time Magazine ran a great article on White House Stenographer Peggy Suntum.

For the last thirty years Peggy Suntum has meticulously transcribed the president’s every public utterance.

Congratulations to Peggy Suntum and all current and past White House Stenographers for doing an exemplary excellent job in their capacity as electronic reporters recording and transcribing the history of our recent presidents.