White House Censors Press — Denies Briefing Access to New York Times, Politico, CNN

Trump’s view of a “Free Press”

❝ White House press secretary Sean Spicer excluded several major news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, from an untelevised media briefing on Friday, hours after President Donald Trump assailed coverage of his administration.

❝ The White House invited members of the so-called press pool to attend the briefing, including representatives from the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News, Agence France-Presse and Hearst, which is serving as the daily representative for newspaper outlets. The White House then handpicked additional outlets to participate, including NBC News, CBS News, and ABC News — as well as conservative outlets like the Washington Times, America One, and Breitbart News Network.

Notably excluded were the New York Times, CNN, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News and the BBC. Bloomberg News only learned that some outlets had been excluded moments before the briefing began. The Associated Press was invited but declined to participate, citing the exclusion of other organizations…

❝ Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait said in a statement: “I don’t believe that the White House’s decision to exclude major news organizations is in the best interest of keeping the public informed, so in the future we will not participate in exclusionary briefings of the sort that happened today.”…

❝ Spicer holds a televised news briefing on most weekdays when the president isn’t traveling, but on Thursday evening, when it issued its daily guidance, the White House said Spicer would instead “gaggle” on Friday. The term is jargon for less formal briefings, usually held in Spicer’s office or aboard Air Force One, that aren’t televised…

Shortly before the gaggle, the White House asked news organizations to register for an “expanded pool” of reporters that would be admitted to cover it. The group granted access included all of the members of the so-called “protective pool” of journalists that routinely covers the president’s activities, including Bloomberg.

The New York Times and other outlets were turned away at the door to Spicer’s office.

❝ “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of the New York Times and the other news organizations.”

The previous record-holder as Republican crook – Richard Nixon – never went this far in trying to suppress the First Amendment. He fought with those who eventually uncovered all of his administration’s corruption and called the Press “his” enemy”. Trump takes the next step towards fascist rule by calling a Free Press an “enemy of the people”. The sort of declarative you would expect from someone who fears democracy, transparency.

I expect many voices to be raised from conservative to liberal, libertarian to progressive. It will be an interesting exercise picking out Republicans who claim to be constitutionalists – who will also stoop to bow before their leader and support his denial of access to news media.

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