White House press secretary Sean Spicer held a press gaggle on Friday instead of his daily press briefing, but excluded several news sources — most of whom President Donald Trump has accused of publishing “fake news” stories — from attending.
CNN, reported that it was blocked from attending the gaggle, along with The New York Times, Politico, Buzzfeed, and the majority of the members of the foreign press that attend Spicer’s daily briefings.
The exclusions came after Trump delivered a blistering attack toward the media during his speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, during which he doubled down on his comments that “fake news” is the “enemy of the American people.”
“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake,” Trump said told the conference. “A few days ago, I called the fake news ‘the enemy of the people,’ and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none.”
Trump also condemned the use of anonymous sources in news reporting, claiming media outlets that use such sources are using them to make up their own news, and vowed to “do something about it.”
Trump also said that “there are some great reporters, powerful honest, but there are some dishonest people, who do a tremendous disservice [to Americans], and while he would not name names, he alluded to CNN, calling it the “Clinton News Network.”
“Take a look at their polls over the past two years,” he said. “You would think they would fire the pollster, maybe they’re not good at polling, but maybe they are not legit . . . It creates this false narrative.”
Soon after the speech, the White House canceled its open press event, instead holding the off-camera gaggle in Spicer’s office, reports Politico, one of the news outlets that was excluded.
Spicer’s staff did allow in CBS, which is Friday’s pool network, along with ABC, NBC, and Fox. Reporters from Breitbart News, The Washington Times, and One America News Network also attended, reports CNN. The Associated Press and Time, while allowed to attend the gaggle, chose to boycott it instead.
The White House has not yet explained why the news organizations were blocked from attending the reporters’ gaggle. However, the exclusions came a day after reports surfaced that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had asked a high-ranking FBI official to refute a New York Times article concerning connections between Trump campaign staff and Russian intelligence agents during the 2016 campaign.
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