Outcry as White House bars top US media from briefing

2017-02-25 16:21
(Evan Vucci, AP)

(Evan Vucci, AP)

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Washington - Major US media outlets condemned as "unacceptable" and an "insult to democratic ideals" a decision by President Donald Trump's White House to bar several organisations, including CNN and The New York Times, from a daily media briefing.

In an escalation in the administration's war on the media, the White House excluded some outlets that have provided critical coverage from an off-camera event that replaced the traditional on-camera daily briefing.

Friendly conservative outlets like Fox News, the One America News Network and Breitbart News were allowed to attend, while the BBC, The Los Angeles Times and others were excluded.

Trump decried the media as the "enemy of the people," a day after his top strategist promised relations with the press will get "worse every day."

A number of news outlets that regularly cover the White House as part of the "pool," including newswires Reuters and Bloomberg, attended the briefing.

The Associated Press boycotted in protest. AFP protested being excluded, despite being in the "pool" and attended the briefing uninvited.

Select reporters

The White House Correspondents Association said it was "protesting strongly" against the White House decision and promised to bring it up with White House staff.

During the off-camera briefing spokesperspon Sean Spicer said that the White House has shown an "abundance of accessibility... making ourselves, our team and our briefing room more accessible than probably any previous administration."

It is not uncommon for Republican and Democratic administrations to brief select reporters, but the event was initially billed as a regular briefing open to credentialed media.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper decried the move as "un-American."

"This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House," CNN's communications department wrote on Twitter.

"Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don't like. We'll keep reporting regardless."

The New York Times wrote in an editorial that the exclusion was an "unmistakable insult to democratic ideals."

Several outlets referred to a December interview in which Spicer told Politico that the Trump White House would never ban a news outlet.

"Conservative, liberal or otherwise, I think that's what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship," he said.


Read more on:    donald trump  |  us  |  media

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