WASHINGTON: The White House barred several major news outlets from a closed-door press briefing Friday afternoon. News organizations not allowed in the briefing included outlets that President Donald Trump has regularly declared "fake news," such as The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, Politico, and Buzzfeed News.
The news outlets allowed into the briefing included conservative-leaning organizations such as Breitbart News, Fox News, The Washington Times, and One America News Network, along with The Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC, and ABC.
Take note: The daily on-camera WH press briefing was transformed today into an invite-only off-camera affair w POTUS' favorite outlets https://t.co/ALnfb9OVvm— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) February 24, 2017
Reporters from the Associated Press and Time boycotted the closed-door briefing in press secretary Sean Spicer’s office.
Kudos to Time and the AP for standing with NYT, CNN and Politico when they were banned from the Spicer briefing.— Touré (@Toure) February 24, 2017
Even reporters from outlets invited into the briefing didn’t think it was right, such as Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier.
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
Another Fox News anchor, Shep Smith, blasted the move by the Trump adminisatrion, defending the network's competitor saying, "CNN's reporting is not fake news."
A statement from The Wall Street Journal also says the outlet will boycott future closed briefings.
WSJ says they would not have participated in gaggle had they known of the blocking of others and said they won't in future pic.twitter.com/Osef9I0XPx— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) February 24, 2017
Earlier, Trump himself doubled down on his fake news rhetoric and battle against the media in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual meeting. A Bloomberg reporter in the briefing said Trump’s on-air speech this morning was why Spicer held an off-camera meeting.
Spicer wanted to keep TV spotlight on his boss, who was on air at CPAC earlier, but press upset because outlets excluded: NYT, CNN, BBC, etc— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 24, 2017
The news organizations left out of the briefing and the White House Correspondents’ Association quickly denounced it.
The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled by the White House. We ... https://t.co/e6JkOOlwzQ— WHCA (@whca) February 24, 2017
With Spicer’s already-strained relationship with the press, some are saying this is another blow to his and the Trump administration's credibility.
.@PressSec told hand-picked reporters in closed briefing that Trump White House 'is more accessible than probably any prior administration'— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) February 24, 2017
Just a reminder that Trump banned outlets he didn't like, including Politico, from attending his events for months during campaign— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 24, 2017
Commenting on reports of media outlets blocked from Sean Spicer gaggle, CNN's Jeff Zeleny says it's a fight that the WH sort of welcomes.— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) February 24, 2017
Today's briefing was scheduled as an off-camera "gaggle" in Spicer's office; physical entry into Room denied. New low in press relations— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) February 24, 2017
In audio from the closed briefing, Spicer alludes to "false stories" when asked why certain outlets were not allowed in the off-camera briefing.