Donald Trump’s press secretary has barred news organisations, including the BBC and CNN, from a White House press briefing.
The informal briefing, nicknamed a gaggle, occurred in lieu of the usual daily press briefing and was held in Sean Spicer’s office, rather than the traditional briefing room. No cameras were allowed.
The White House invited a pool of news organisations that shares its work with other press to the briefing and said it felt “everyone was represented”.
Spicer justified his decision when challenged at the briefing by reporters from other outlets, saying: “We’re not just going to sit back and, you know, false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there.”
📻 Here's audio of what @seanspicer said at a press gaggle where certain media outlets were blocked from attending https://t.co/UVBA6wxHob pic.twitter.com/8zWskdydzT— POLITICO (@politico) February 24, 2017
As relations between the mainstream media and the Trump administration continue to sour, how did some of those excluded from the briefing respond?
Britain’s biggest news export the BBC was part of the handful of major news groups excluded from Spicer’s off-camera briefing,
A statement from the BBC’s Washington Bureau Chief Paul Danahar said the BBC was seeking clarity from the White House on why it was excluded, but that “our reporting will remain fair and impartial regardless”.
CNN issued a statement after the incident which read: “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.”
The New York Times
Journalists from The New York Times, CNN and Politico were barred from attending a White House briefing https://t.co/em0XsxFiVI pic.twitter.com/zp5qJGXOsw— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 25, 2017
The New York Times, a publication Trump has repeatedly called “failing” and a “joke” on Twitter, hit back with a statement from its executive editor, Dean Baquet.
The statement read: “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other new organisations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
Even publications which weren’t denied entry to the briefing have issued statements on the matter.
“The Wall Street Journal strongly objects to the White House’s decision to bar certain media outlets from today’s gaggle,” a statement from the newspaper said.
“Had we known at the time, we would not have participated and we will not participate in such closed briefings in the future.”
Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us-a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs https://t.co/8Vjcs0KCPR— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 24, 2017
The chief political anchor at TV channel Fox News also expressed his support, remembering a time when the Obama administration attempted to exclude them, and CNN and the New York Times stood up for the network.