White House Bars News Outlets From Spicer Media Gaggle

Donald Trump at CPAC 2017, Oxon Hill, USA, Feb. 24Donald Trump at CPAC 2017, Oxon Hill, USA, Feb. 24

The White House has blocked a number of news outlets from covering a question-and-answer session with spokesman Sean Spicer held in place of the daily press briefing.

Media organizations, including The New York Times, CNN, Politico and Aljazeera, were blocked from joining the informal, on-the-record, off-camera press briefing on Friday, referred to as a “gaggle”, Aljazeera reported.

Some of the blocked outlets, including CNN, have been singled out by President Donald Trump as sources of “fake news”.

Spicer invited only a pool of news organizations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps.

Journalists from several right-leaning outlets were also allowed into Spicer’s office, including the website Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is Trump’s chief strategist.

When additional news organizations attempted to gain access, they were not allowed to enter.

Aljazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from the White House, was among those asked to leave.

“This is really the latest in an ongoing media war with this White House,” she said.

“Some of those who are concerned about this are outlets that have been accused by the White House of reporting unfavorably, namely that they reported that the White House recently tried to deploy the FBI to counter some negative reporting with regard to whether or not there had been contact between the White House and Russian officials.”

Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organizations credentialed to cover the White House.

AP and Time magazine chose not to participate in the gaggle after Spicer restricted the number of journalists present.

Donald Trump used his first presidential appearance before the nation’s largest gathering of conservative activists, Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday to sharply escalate his criticisms of the news media and take direct aim at the use of anonymous sources.

Reporters “shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name”, he declared, just hours after members of his own staff held a press briefing and refused to allow their names to be used.

“A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being, let them say it to my face,” Trump told the Conservative Political Action Committee. “Let there be no more sources.”

Trump said he wasn’t against all the press, just “the fake news media or press”.

“I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources,” he said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name.”


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