Major media outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, Los Angeles Times, and most of the foreign press were blocked from attending an informal White House briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday.
Trump administration spokesperson Sarah Sanders provided a brief statement defending the decision saying the White House “had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today.”
CNN explained that pool usually consists of representatives from “one television network and one print outlet. In this case, four of the five major television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.”
The print outlets that were permitted to attend were conservative media: The Washington Times, Breitbart News and One America News.
When Spicer was asked if the NYT and CNN were blocked because the administration was unhappy with recent reporting, Spicer replied, “Because we had it as pool, and then we expanded it, and we added some folks to come cover it. It was my decision to expand the pool.”
CNN and the NYT protested the decision. The Associated Press and Time boycotted the conference because of the way it was handled.
“This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House. Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless,” CNN said in a statement.
Reuters White House correspondent and board member for the White House Correspondent’s association, Jeff Mason, issued a statement saying, “protesting strongly” the administration’s handling of the briefing.