by Dolapo Adelana
In a clear show of his disdain for what he terms, “fake news”, the White House on Friday barred certain news networks from its press briefing.
Networks like CNN, the New York Times, BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times and Politico were all denied access to the small briefing known as a “gaggle”— an informal session that’s on the record, but without cameras televising the event.
However, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox, Breitbart, the Washington Times, and One America News Network were all given access.
The Associated Press and Time reportedly boycotted the briefing.
The situation has sparked reactions from the barred news outlets.
Editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, Ben Smith in a statement, said, “While we strongly object to the White House’s apparent attempt to punish news outlets whose coverage it does not like, we won’t let these latest antics distract us from continuing to cover this administration fairly and aggressively.”
Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association, said the organization will discuss the development,
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” said Mason, who is also chief white house correspondent for Reuters.
CNN on its part, issued the statement below:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
Executive editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet, also issued a statement to the paper.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Baquet said in the 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.”
A White House communications official denied that the publications had been blocked.
White House Deputy Comms. Dir. Raj Shah denies reports of a gaggle block against CNN, NYT, Politico and others: pic.twitter.com/XzgfQJ25w3
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) February 24, 2017
Recall that while speaking on Friday at the Conservative Conference in Maryland, Trump called CNN, the Clinton News Network, as he stated he had nothing against the press, but had a problem with fake news.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.