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Media outlets blocked from White House press briefing

Reporters from multiple media outlets said they were barred from attending a White House press briefing Friday.
Reporters from multiple media outlets said they were barred from attending a White House press briefing Friday.

Reporters from multiple media outlets said they were barred from attending a White House press briefing Friday.

White House reporters from CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, and the Los Angeles Times all said they were not allowed to attend an informal briefing by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Reporters from conservative outlets Breitbart, the Washington Times, and One America Network were allowed in, according to a BuzzFeed reporter. Television networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox were also included, according to multiple reports. The Associated Press and Time magazine both boycotted the gathering, called a “gaggle,” as a result.


‘‘The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible,” the AP’s director of media relations said in a statement Friday.

Spicer was scheduled to hold an on-camera press briefing Friday, but around midday the White House announced that the on-camera briefing would not be held. Spicer instead met with selected media outlets as part of an “expanded pool.”

‘‘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.

During the gaggle, Spicer said there was nothing out of the ordinary about the situation, according to a pool report, and cited past discussions about experimenting with different briefing formats. Spicer also said the president had already made lengthy remarks Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“I wanted to make sure that the president’s message carried,’’ he said, according to the pool report.

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” New York Times editor Dean Baquet said in a statement Friday protesting the move. “Free access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”


CNN’s public relations department called the Trump administration’s move “unacceptable” in a statement Friday afternoon.

“Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless,” the network said.

The White House Correspondents Association put out a statement shortly after the incident:

“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.”

President Donald Trump has frequently made the media a target of his ire in recent weeks, and Friday blasted the use of unnamed sources in stories critical of the administration, saying reporters “shouldn’t be allowed” to use a source unless he or she is on the record.

“It doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people and we’re going to do something about it,” Trump said. “Many of these groups are part of large media corporations that have their own agenda.’’

Globe correspondent Sarah Assami contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.