Sean Spicer sent the media into a firestorm Friday afternoon when several news outlets were barred from attending the White House press briefing.
In place of the regularly scheduled conference in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, Sean Spicer opted to host an informal press gaggle in his office. But when it was time for the briefing to begin, certain outlets found themselves banned from attending.
The New York Times reported that journalists from their organization, as well as journalists from CNN and Politico, were prohibited from entering the press secretary’s office for the briefing.
Axios provided a full list of media outlets not allowed in the press gaggle:
In: Breitbart, The Washington Times, One America News Network, Reuters, Bloomberg, NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS (which, per Dave Lee of the BBC, agreed to share audio with the excluded press).
Out: NYT, Politico, BBC, LA Times, Buzzfeed, The Hill, Daily Mail, New York Daily News, and most of the foreign press — plus, the AP and Time boycotted the gaggle upon learning of the restrictions.
Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, quickly condemned the decision by the Trump administration, writing:
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House. We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff”
The Trump administration has consistently been at odds with certain members of the press. Representatives of the administration have never been afraid to openly feud with certain news outlets, but the decision to prevent certain outlets from having access to the press secretary is a step further than previous actions.
In its report on the incident, The New York Times singles out the inclusion of certain conservative-leaning outlets that were permitted to attend Friday’s briefing, such as Breitbart News, the Washington Times, and One America News Network. The majority of journalists from other outlets that cover the White House were permitted to attend, but Time Magazine and the Associated Press protested the decision by not attending.
The decision to restrict access from certain members of the press comes just hours after President Donald Trump railed against perceived unfair media coverage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). At that event, he qualified that he believes “fake news” is the enemy of the American people and not the entire press.
However, the Trump administration’s provocative action is certain to make more than a few enemies in the press.