Reporters from multiple news organizations were barred from attending an off-camera #White House press briefing on Friday, sparking outrage and criticism.The White House Communications team chose to have an off-camera briefing on Friday evening, colloquially known as a “gaggle” within the press community. However, the White House chose to handpick reporters from specific media outlets to attend, including the Washington Times, the One America News Network, Breitbart News, & Fox News.
Which news outlets were banned?
The reason for the warranted outrage is that many outlets, and specifically the ones that have been more critical of the Trump administration, were prohibited from entering the off-camera briefing.
Well-known media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Politico, Buzzfeed, and CNN were all banned from entering Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s media gaggle.
The executive director of the New York Times, Dean Baquet, described the incident as unprecedented, "Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties.”
Trump’s growing war with the media
This occurrence comes on the heels of repeated efforts by Trump to discredit media outlets that have been especially critical of his administration. The president has repeatedly stated that many news outlets, including the ones that were blocked from entering the Friday briefing, are “fake news” organizations. President Trump has claimed that these reputable media providers are disseminating false information and using unsubstantiated sources.
However, the Trump administration has yet to provide any actual evidence to back up these claims.
The willingness of Trump to baselessly denigrate reputable media outlets as “fake news” has progressed to actively preventing them access to White House press functions. These continued attempts to bully journalists into not reporting factual developments should be a shameful wake-up call for Trump supporters. Unfortunately, President Trump has proven that he will continue to galvanize support despite these childish moves.
The raucous support seen at the CPAC exemplifies this bizarre reality within American politics. The Trump administration is firmly adhering to the famous adage, “any press is good press”. Therefore, as long as some Americans continue to laud these intimidation tactics, the Trump administration will continue along this authoritarian path. #Donald Trump