White House Bans Reporters From Press Briefing: What You Need to Know
The White House has taken the next step in its war against the media, by blocking journalists from some of the biggest news outlets from the daily press briefing on Friday. Reporters from the New York Times, CNN, Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico, all of which have published critical pieces about Donald Trump, were stopped from entering the press briefing.
The only news outlets that were allowed in had been confirmed previously, the White House said, and included right leaning Breitbart News, the One America News Network, the Washington Times, and Fox News. ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg were also allowed in. The briefing was also changed from an on-camera event to an off-camera gaggle.
This marks an unusual and brusque new approach to the Executive Branch’s relationship with the media. Journalists from Time and the Associated Press chose to not attend in solidarity, even though they were allowed in.
The executive editor of the NY Times Dean Baquet condemned the White House’s move in a statement:
Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties. 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.
Naturally the announcement by Spicer caused an uproar.
AP and Time boycotted the gaggle today because of the way it was handled.
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) February 24, 2017
Here’s CNN’s response:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
And many reporters showed solidarity with each other and pointed out that no matter political difference of opinions, government press briefings should be open to all.
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
Numerous White House reporters have split up the duties of transcribing the Spicer gaggle to share with their colleagues who were excluded.
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) February 24, 2017
The move to shut some reporters out came just hours after President Trump’s speech at the CPAC, where he said that the media is “the enemy of the people.” He said reporters shouldn’t be allowed to have anonymous sources, and claimed they just make information up. “We’re going to do something about it,” he said.
The White House Correspondents Association disapproved of the White House’s actions. “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” the organization said in a statement. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
Some analysts believe the president is doing all he can to discredit the media and shake people’s trust in it, since it is one of the biggest treats to his presidency. “By hammering reporters as dishonest purveyors of fake news, Trump simultaneously rallies his fans and lays the groundwork for dismissing fair-minded journalism as the work of partisan hacks,” said Peter Slevin, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to believe the rumors and repeat Trump’s cry of “fake news.” But that won’t stop journalists from doing their jobs.