The New York Times reports that the White House Bars Times and Other News Outlets From Briefing
Journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.
Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.
Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.
The Times reported on the follow-up by Press Secretary Sean Spicer to Trump’s latest rant at CPAC.
In the West Wing less than three hours later, the consequences were becoming clear. Mr. Spicer told a handpicked group of reporters in a briefing in his spacious office that the White House would relentlessly counter coverage it considered inaccurate.
“We’re going to aggressively push back,” he said, according to a recording of the session provided by a reporter who was allowed to attend. “We’re just not going to sit back and let, you know, false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there.”
If you had any doubts about where this is headed, ditch ’em. That remark from Spicer is a perfectly clear statement of intent to control the press. Anything the Trump/Bannon crew does not like, will be spiked if they have their way. What gets reported to the public will be tainted by Trump.
The press reacted with scorn and condemnation.
Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.
“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.”
Representatives of the barred news organizations made clear that they believed the White House’s actions on Friday were punitive.
“Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like,” CNN said in a statement.
Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed, called it “the White House’s apparent attempt to punish news outlets whose coverage it does not like.”
In my opinion the best reaction came from the retired Admiral who is now Chancellor of the University of Texas system. The Washington post has the story: ‘Greatest threat to democracy’: Commander of bin Laden raid slams Trump’s anti-media sentiment
William H. McRaven, a retired four-star admiral and former Navy SEAL, slammed President Trump’s characterization of the media as “the enemy of the American people,” calling that sentiment the “greatest threat to democracy” he’s ever seen.
That’s coming from a man who’s seen major threats to democracy.
McRaven, who was commander of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command, organized and oversaw the highly risky operation that killed Osama bin Laden almost six years ago. The admiral from Texas had tapped a special unit of Navy SEALs to carry out the May 2011 raid on the elusive terrorist’s hideout, a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reported shortly after bin Laden’s death.
McRaven left the military in 2014 after nearly four decades and later became chancellor of the University of Texas System. The UT-Austin alumnus, who has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, addressed a crowd at the university’s Moody College of Communication on Tuesday.
“We must challenge this statement and this sentiment that the news media is the enemy of the American people,” McRaven said, according to the Daily Texan. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
All together now, let’s sing America the Trumpiful.