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The White House prevented multiple media outlets who have run pieces critical of the Trump administration from attending a question-and-answer session with Press Secretary Sean Spicer today.
Instead of the customary on-camera briefing in the Press Briefing Room, Spicer held an off-camera “gaggle” with a carefully selected group of reporters in his private office.
CNN, The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were not allowed to attend. Many of these outlets – CNN and The New York Times in particular – have been singled out by President Trump as an example of “fake news” because of their critical coverage of his campaign and administration.
More right-leaning, Trump-supporting outlets such as Breitbart, the Washington Times, Fox News, and One America News Network were given an invitation. Mainstream outlets who have largely avoided criticism from Trump thus far, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, were also invited.
Time and The Associated Press were invited, but have boycotted the event in protest of the discriminatory guest list.
The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement by its president that “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.”
This move comes just hours after Trump promised to take direct action against the media, saying in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference “It doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people, and we’re gong to to do something about it.”
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW
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