Several White House reporters were surprised and outraged today as White House press secretary Sean Spicer chose to hold a private press gaggle in his office inviting "friendly" media outlets but blocking several that President Trump has publicly deemed as having less-than-favorable reports on his administration.
From The Hill:
Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations that President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN.
The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.
Several right-leaning outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network.
A number of major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters and Bloomberg.
The White House Correspondents’ Association sharply criticized 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,” he added. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The "invitation only" presser drew quick rebuke from journalists.
From the New York Times:
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The 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.”
And then these from Twitter:
Blocked from White House media briefing— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) February 24, 2017
· NY Times
· LA Times
Allowed to attend
A big deal: WH now picking and choosing which news outlets can attend Spicer gaggle, preventing CNN, NYT, Politico, Buzzfeed from attending— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 24, 2017
Scene in the White House briefing room as reporters got turned away from the gaggle in Spicer's office. pic.twitter.com/UvIW7rbGzx— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) February 24, 2017
This press lockout @ the White House is a hot mess, I will channel @SarahPalinUSA I can see Russia from here.What makes us different w/press— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) February 24, 2017
White House CENSORSHIP of press - what's next!?— UniteBlue (@UniteBlue) February 24, 2017
Control of Press is first step to dictatorship!#RESIST #UniteBlue pic.twitter.com/R76KMSLDtt
#WH reporters discuss Trump Admin decision to block numerous news orgs from a briefing @blacksnob @payneNBC @hardball @AprilDRyan pic.twitter.com/5kd8DjSSMT— Lauren Victoria (@LVBurke) February 24, 2017