White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is holding a gaggle–an off-camera briefing–with reporters from some news organizations, but has excluded others, leaving those others in the briefing room wondering why.
The New York Times’s Glenn Thrush reports that Breitbart, Fox News, the Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, and Bloomberg, among others, are in the briefing, while his publication, along with CNN, Politico the Los Angeles Times and much of the foreign press were not allowed in.
CNN reports the Associated Press and TIME were invited in, but “boycotted the gaggle.”
Reporters held out of today’s White House briefing. pic.twitter.com/8uqelMjrtp
— Noah Bierman (@Noahbierman) February 24, 2017
Even as the story is still developing, Fox News’s Bret Baier put today’s events in perspective:
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
Here’s CNN’s report. “This has never happened in this administration,” said Brooke Baldwin.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 24, 2017
CNN public relations, which has gotten into the habit of tweeting its responses, has this to say:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
The Wall Street Journal, which was invited in, said it wouldn’t have attended if it knew others were being excluded:
WSJ statement on participating in today’s WH briefing despite ban of others. “Had we known at the time, we would not have participated…" pic.twitter.com/5QxMPUJRrX
— Sydney Ember (@melbournecoal) February 24, 2017
McClatchy says they won’t participate in such gaggles again if outlets are barred pic.twitter.com/4yrnIr3aQO
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) February 24, 2017
ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox getting flak for attending. CBS Evening News EP Steve Capus clarifies that CBS was the pool:
.@jonathanalter As pool for this event, CBS attended and distributed audio to all pool members
— Steve Capus (@SteveCapus) February 24, 2017
While Fox News was allowed in FBN’s Blake Burman was not on Spicer’s list.
Said John Roberts on Fox News: “You can speculate, Shep, that there might be some extenuating circumstances as to why those people were not invited, we’re going to look into that further, the White House Correspondents Association, as you noted, is filing a complaint, the five network pool is filing a complaint as well, and FOX News is supportive of both of those complaints.”
From National Press Club President Jeffrey Ballou:
I find it deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable that the White House is actively running a campaign against a constitutionally enshrined free and independent press.
That the White House would block journalists from covering the daily off-camera briefing of reporters by the White House press secretary is wrong and we protest it in the strongest possible terms.
The action harkens back to the darkest chapters of US history and reeks of undemocratic, un-American and unconstitutional censorship. The National Press Club supports our colleagues in the White House Correspondents Association in its protest and calls on the White House to reverse course.
Like all presidents, President Donald Trump has a standing invitation to speak at the National Press Club and answer questions from our members. We can think of no better place to continue the debate about the role of the press and the First Amendment than the place where newsmakers and news reporters have met for more than 100 years.
From National Press Club Journalism Institute President Barbara Cochran:
President Donald Trump said today that he is “not against the press,” just against the “fake news media.” But the Constitution protects all news organizations, not just those liked by this or any other president. All news organizations make mistakes from time to time, but they are trying to tell the truth and generally do it well. News organizations mustn’t be confused with so-called fake news sites that make up stories to sow lies or generate profits from social media.
The president said, “No one loves” the First Amendment “more than me.” We call on the president and his staff to prove that and stop interfering with the ability of all news organizations to do their job of covering the White House.