During an off-camera White House press briefing on Friday, several major news outlets were denied access, while only hand-selected reporters were allowed to attend the briefing. Among the outlets blocked from attending were CNN, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Buzzfeed and Politico. Reporters from these news outlets tried entering Sean Spicer’s office, where the briefing was to be held, and were told they were not on the list of attendees and turned away.
Because, apparently, the Trump administration doesn’t want that pesky Constitution getting in the way of their own narrative and all those “alternate facts.”
Trump administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defended the move, saying the White House “had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today.”
Four of the five major television news outlets were allowed to attend: ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News, while CNN was shut out. And, while LA Times and NY Times were denied entry, conservative media outlets like Breitbart News, Washington Times and One America News Network were allowed inside.
Not surprisingly, the news outlets that were denied access also happen to be the same ones on Trump’s hit-list for publishing facts that make him and his administration look bad.
CNN issued a statement regarding the incident, stating: “This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House. Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless.”
Meanwhile, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet issued a statement saying:
“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.”
Several other news organizations also spoke out about the incident, including Politico, Buzzfeed News, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. In addition, The White House Correspondents Association issued the following statement:
“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. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
Regardless of how this all goes down, this is yet another blatant move by the Trump administration to influence and alter the information that becomes available to the American public, likely because their “fake news” rhetoric wasn’t quite cutting it anymore. And, the less information the public has access to, the less anyone will question the current administration, which will only serve to give Trump and his minions as much power as they want.