LOS ANGELES — Several major news outlets found themselves blocked from attending a Friday White House press briefing with Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary.
The New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times and Politico were among the news organizations prevented from attending, according to posts by reporters from those outlets on Twitter.
The Associated Press and Time declined to take part.
“The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible,” Lauren Easton, the AP’s director of media relations, said in a statement.
The three major broadcast networks — CBS, ABC, and NBC — were invited to the briefing, as were several news outlets that play to a conservative readership, such as Breitbart, The Washington Times and One America News Network.
The blocked access was disclosed just hours after President Trump railed against the news media’s use of anonymous sources in stories about his term in the office.
“It doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people and we’re going to do something about it,” he warned while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
CNN’s Sara Murray reported journalists were given a sign-up sheet for media prior to entry. This is not a standard practice, according to CNN.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, editor of The New York Times said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
Spicer told the press Friday that the briefing was open to a smaller group only, a gaggle, and would expand its pool “as he saw fit,” WJLA reported.
The White House Correspondents Association protested the development.
“We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” the organization said. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
The White House defended the decision not to include some news organizations.
“We invited the pool so everyone was represented. We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
The Associated Press and Variety contributed to this report.
New York Times