A recent White House decision prompted many people to cite violations of the first amendment, referencing freedom of the press.
On Feb. 24, President Donald Trump and his administration prevented numerous news organizations to attend an informal press briefing. Press Secretary Sean Spicer banned reporters from CNN, the New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, and BuzzFeed. Furthermore, reporters did not televise the meeting, and Spicer only permitted specific reporters, many from conservative media outlets.
White House officials claim the decision was not a ploy against organizations openly critical of Trump’s administration. Despite the claim, officials did not ban conservative media outlets from the press briefing. Attending reporters were from Fox News, Breitbart News, and the Washington Times, all of which openly approve of the administration. Additionally, attendees included CBS, NBC, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg. For this reason, Time and the Associated Press did not attend in protest of media exclusion.
Raising speculation, the media ban happened the same day President Trump complained about the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). At the conference, Trump called reporters “dishonest” and “fake” and said media outlets should not allow anonymous sources in White House reports.
In regards to the media ban, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the office did not intend to exclude the media.
“We invited the pool so everyone was represented,” she said. “We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool for an expanded pool. Nothing more than that.”
The pool that Sanders referred too represents a group or reporters that take notes and transcribe meetings with officials. They consist of a radio, TV, print, and wire-service outlets and provide those notes to other journalists.
Additionally, Sanders did not explain the basis on which officials included or excluded outlets from the press briefing.
Accordingly, many news outlets raised public concerns about the White House’s decision. CNN anchor Jake Tapper said that Trump and Spicer’s decision is not acceptable.
“In fact, it’s petulant,” he said. “This White House doesn’t seem to value a free press. There’s a word for this. The word is ‘un-American.’”