White House Keeps 9 News Outlets Out of Press Briefing

CNN, New York Times are out; Breitbart and Washington Times are in
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2017 4:02 PM CST
White House Bars 9 News Outlets From Press Briefing
Reporters line up in hopes of attending a briefing in Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

"Nothing like this has ever happened," the executive editor of the New York Times said in a statement. On Friday, the White House barred the NYT, BuzzFeed, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico from attending a closed-door press briefing with Sean Spicer. The Hill reports it was also on the list of barred organizations, along with the Daily Mail, BBC, and New York Daily News. The news organizations picked by aides to attend the briefing were Breitbart, the One America News Network, the Washington Times, ABC, CBS, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Fox News, NBC, and Reuters. Time and the AP were also allowed in but boycotted over the exclusion of the other organizations. The Journal says it would have joined the boycott if it had realized what was going on, the Washington Post reports.

An LA Times reporter notes that a number of the outlets allowed into the camera-free briefing were smaller, "Trump-friendly" organizations. The White House tried to downplay the incident, and Spicer said it was his idea to only allow in certain reporters, NBC reports. CNN states it was clearly being punished by the White House for reporting "facts they don't like." Fox News anchor Bret Baier was critical of Spicer's decision, saying press briefings "should be opened to all" credentialed news organizations. He notes that other organizations had stood in protest when the Obama administration tried to exclude Fox News from interviews with its "pay czar" in 2009. Other outlets refused to participate in interviews until Fox was allowed to take part. (More Sean Spicer stories.)

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