The White House has blocked several major news outlets from covering its press briefing.
White House Press Secretary Spicer on Friday hand selected news outlets to participate in an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the James S Brady Press Briefing Room.
The news outlets blocked from the press briefing include organisations who President Trump has criticised by name. CNN, BBC, The New York Times, LA Times, New York Daily News, Daily Mail, were among the news outlets barred from the gathering.
Instead, the press secretary hand-picked news outlets including Breitbart News, One America News Network, The Washington Times, all news organisations with far-right leanings. Others major outlets approved for t group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, Reuters and Bloomberg.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times said in a 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.”
Several media outlets including the Associated Press and TIME Magazine declined to attend the briefing to boycott the President’s decision.
The White House Correspondents’ Association also criticised the decision.
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” Jeff Mason, the association’s president, said in a statement.
“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.”
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