What the White House Just Did to the Press Is Unprecedented

February 24th 2017

Kyle Jaeger

The White House, in a move widely seen as unprecedented, banned reporters from three media organizations — The New York Times, CNN, Politico, and several other media outlets — from attending a press briefing on Friday.

Donald Trump at CPAC 2011

The action came amid escalating tensions between President Donald Trump's administration and the media.

Trump repeated his claim that the press is the "enemy of the American people" during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

Here's what you need to know.

  • The White House hand-picked reporters from certain media outlets — excluding those representing The New York Times, CNN, Politico, BuzzFeed, BBC, The Los Angeles Times, and The Hill — to attend Friday's press briefing, informally called "a gaggle."
  • Trump has repeatedly clashed with the media, accusing CNN, the Times, and others of publishing "fake news."
  • The White House Correspondents' Association, which represents the White House press corps, said it is "protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled" and encouraged press outlets that were in attendance to share information from the briefing with those who were excluded.
  • Reporters for Breitbart News, the One America News Network, The Washington Times, ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News were allowed to attend.
  • In a show of solidarity with the excluded outlets, reporters from the Associated Press and Time magazine declined to attend the briefing, the Times reported.

During his presidential campaign and throughout his time in office, Trump has made clear his opposition to select media outlets.

Trump accused the Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, and CNN of being "the FAKE NEWS media" in a tweet last week. Those outlets are "the enemy of the American People!" he added.

Trump also vowed to "do something about" the press at his CPAC speech hours before reporters were barred from attending.