The White House has blocked several news outlets, including CNN, BBC, the New York Times, New York Daily News, LA Times, The Hill, and the Daily Mail from covering a press briefing.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, would not allow any reporters from these news outlets into his office for the gaggle, having an administration official tell them they could not attend because they were not on the list.
Jake Tapper, news anchor for CNN, began his afternoon show today by saying: “This White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability. This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking. The word is ‘un-American.’”
Although many major news outlets were not allowed in, conservative organizations such as Breitbart News, the Washington Times and One America News Network were able to attend.
Dean Baquet, executive director of the New York Times, fired back saying nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in the paper’s long history of covering multiple administrations.
“We strongly protest the exclusion of the New York Times and other news organizations,” he said. “Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
Baquet is right. The media must have access to a transparent government, especially considering the government that is now running the United States. It is crucial for citizens to be able to get their news from any media outlet, not just from predominantly right-wing outlets that are telling one side of the story.
It isn’t right that a government can block media outlets from covering important news that the world needs and this is a scary fact as a journalism student who is near graduation and about to be in the industry.
It must be even scarier to be an American journalist right now, as it seems the war on media is just beginning. If this is happening two months into a new presidency, what is going to happen over the next three years?
On Twitter, users spoke out on how they feel about the block.
Given how determined the White House is to suppress stories about Trump/Kremlin ties, I hope we're equally determined to dig out the truth.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 25, 2017
“Given how determined the White House is to suppress stories about Trump/Kremlin ties, I hope we’re equally determined to dig out the truth.” -Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof)
I loved being a reporter & all it meant. If my news org. was favored today with a select White House audience, I'd be sending out resumes.
— David Simon (@AoDespair) February 25, 2017
“I loved being a reporter & all it meant. If my news org. was favored today with a select White House audience, I’d be sending out resumes.” -David Simon (@AoDespair)
Hoping Monday's White House press briefing is just Breitbart and that guy who hugged Trump at the rally last week.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) February 25, 2017
“Hoping Monday’s White House press briefing is just Breitbart and that guy who hugged Trump at the rally last week.” -Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack)
The media block came just hours after President Trump said in a press conference that much of the press represents the “enemy of the people” and that he is fighting fake news.