White House bars BBC, CNN, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing
Several media outlets including the Associated Press and Time magazine declined to attend the briefing to boycott the President's decision.
Barely a week after U.S. President Donald Trump called some of the major media houses "fake news media", the White House has blocked several major news outlets from covering its press briefing.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer hand selected news outlets to participate in an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the James S Brady Press Briefing Room.
Earlier, Trump in many platforms criticised news organisations by name. CNN, BBC, The New York Times, LA Times, New York Daily News, BuzzFeed, The Hill, and the Daily Mail, were among the news outlets barred from the gathering.
Spicer hand-picked news outlets including Breitbart News, One America News Network, The Washington Times, all news organisations with far-right leanings. Others major outlets approved included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, Reuters and Bloomberg.
Several media outlets including the Associated Press and Time magazine declined to attend the briefing to boycott the President's decision, according to a report in Independent.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, in a statement, said: “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties.”
“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,” the statement reads.
BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, said: “While we strongly object to the White House’s apparent attempt to punish news outlets whose coverage it does not like, we won’t let these latest antics distract us from the work of continuing to cover this administration fairly and aggressively.”
And the BBC's Washington bureau chief, Paul Danahar, said: “We understand there may be occasions when, due to space or circumstances, the White House restricts press events to the established pool.
“However, what happened today did not fit into that pattern. On this occasion selected media were allowed to attend the briefing and the selected media, including the BBC, were not.
"The BBC has a representative at every daily White House briefing so we are not clear why we were barred from today's. We have sought clarification from the White House Press team. Out reporting will remain fair and impartial regardless.”