CNN and The New York Times have responded to the White House’s decision to block their reporters and those of other major news organizations from attending a press briefing on Friday.
“This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House. Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like,” CNN said in a statement. “We’ll keep reporting regardless.”
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet issued his own 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.”
Politico was also blocked from the press briefing. Editor-in-chief John Harris and editor Carrie Budoff Brown sent a note to their newsroom, which TheWrap has obtained:
As you may have seen, POLITICO was one of several news organizations that were excluded from today’s ‘expanded pool’ for the gaggle in White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s office. We’ve reached out to the White House, and rest assured that we plan to very vigorously assert and defend an independent media’s right to cover the institution of the Presidency.
Selectively excluding news organizations from White House briefings is misguided and our expectation is that this action will not be repeated.
We have one of the largest teams in Washington covering this White House–a major editorial and financial commitment on behalf of our audience. This commitment is an enduring one, and our coverage of the Trump Administration will of course continue without interruption.
Journalists from several other outlets, including Time magazine and the Associated Press, boycotted the briefing to protest the exclusion of other media, according to the New York Times’ Peter Baker in a tweet.
The aggressive move comes just hours after President Donald Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference and spent 13 minutes of his 48-minute speech denouncing the “dishonest” media. “They are the worst,” he said.
Buzzfeed editor in chief Ben Smith also issued a statement on Friday, which was obtained by TheWrap: “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.”