The White House has broken with tradition and barred three mainstream media outlets from attending the daily press “gaggle” (no briefing was scheduled for today). Journalists from The New York Times, CNN, AND Politico were prohibited from entering the daily press briefing on Friday.
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The three outlets were offered no explanation for why they were prevented from entering the West Wing office of press secretary, Sean Spicer. Spicer’s aides did admit other news organizations that were on the confirmed list of attendees.
Those allowed to attend included The Washington Times, Brietbart, and other outlets with a more conservative reputation, and many of the typical mainstays of the mainstream media like ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, , and Fox News.
Several reporters who were set to attend the briefing backed out in protest of their colleagues’ exclusion. Time and The Associated Press both boycotted the event.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “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 interest.”
The New York Times, reporting on their own exclusion, turned to The White House Correspondents’ Association for comment. The W.H.C.A. came down hard on the White House.
“The W.H.C.A. board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,”W.H.C.A. president, Jeff Mason, wrote. “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
This latest move is part of a larger trend in political coverage that has seen The White House go directly after media outlets who they perceive to be hostile to the Trump administration’s agenda. President Trump has characterized mainstream media as an “enemy of the people” and vowed to take his message directly form the Oval Office to the citizens by way of social media.
Though each of the excluded outlets have been accused, independently, in creating what the White House has labeled Fake News, no explanation has been given for today’s actions.