The White House on Friday denied several news outlets access to a question-and-answer session with Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Among those not allowed to attend were the New York Times, Politico, the BBC, The Hill, CNN, and BuzzFeed.
The move elicited wide-ranging criticism. CNN, a network often rebuked by President Trump, issued a statement calling the tactic “an unacceptable development” adding: “Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless.”
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
Key media figures were quick to condemn the White House’s actions.
New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet released a statement noting that “nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history.”
“We strongly protest the exclusion of the New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national importance.”
Bret Baier of Fox News posted a tweet claiming that all credentialed news outlets should have been allowed to attend the session. Baier referenced how journalists at CNN and the New York Times defended Fox when the Obama administration attacked the network.
Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us-a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs https://t.co/8Vjcs0KCPR
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 24, 2017
The decision was also vehemently criticized by Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House.”
“We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” Mason’s statement read. “The board will have a further discussion with White House staff.”
Media outlets attending Spicer’s session included Breitbart, Fox News, the Washington Times, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Bloomberg, and Reuters.
Time Magazine and The Associated Press boycotted the press conference, in protest of the others being blocked out.
Trump has repeatedly questioned media coverage of his campaign and administration, just as he did Friday during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news,” he said in his speech. “It’s phony, it’s fake.”
“I called the fake news the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none. I’m not against the media. I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserved them. I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources.”
H/T: The Hill
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