The BBC and other news outlets were blocked on Friday from attending an off-camera White House press briefing that other reporters were hand-picked to attend.
The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, CNN and the Guardian were also among those excluded from the meeting, which was held in White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s office. The meeting, which is known as a gaggle, was held in lieu of the daily televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room.
When reporters from these news organizations tried to enter Spicer’s office for the gaggle, they were told they could not attend because they were not on the list of attendees.
In a brief statement defending the move, administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the White House “had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today.”
While the BBC and CNN are furious to have been excluded, it is not unprecedented for the White House to select who attends the press pool – it usually includes representatives from one television outlet, one radio outlet and one print outlet, as well as reporters from a few wire services. In this case, four of the five major American television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.
And while The New York Times was kept out, conservative media organisations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were also allowed in.
Hours earlier, at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, President Trump mocked and disparaged the news media. He said that much of the press represents “the enemy of the people.”
“They are the enemy of the people because they have no sources,” Trump said. “They just make them up when there are none.”
He also said reporters “shouldn’t be allowed” to use unnamed sources.
WHO WAS ALLOWED IN AND WHO WAS OUT
News outlets in the meeting:
Franco Ordonez, McClatchy
CBS, Margaret Brennan (pool)
Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones (pool)
Washington Examiner, Gabby Morrongiello
One America News Network, Trey Yingst
NBC, Hallie Jackson
ABC, Cecilia Vargas
Fox News, John Roberts
AFP, Andrew Beatty (pool)
Bloomberg, Justin Sink (pool)
Fox News, John Roberts
Emel Bayrak, TRT-TURK (pool)
News outlets kept out of the meeting:
New York Times
Real Clear Politics
New York Daily News