In an unprecedented move Friday, the White House denied access to a press briefing to various news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, Politico, and Huffington Post. The action escalated an already tense relationship between President Donald Trump and his administration and what he has begun calling the “fake news” media.
Huffington Post pointed out that its organization and many of the others denied access to the private press briefing had been critical of the president, but stopped short of outright accusing the administration or its representative, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, of targeting only the media outlets that had questioned his administration and reported on the relationship between the Trump administration and Russia.
CNN, however, did not hold back its rebuke of being barred from the White House press briefing. The news network, the only major television network barred Friday (NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX News were allowed entry, announced on air that it had not been allowed into the private briefing with the press secretary. Jake Tapper, anchoring The Lead, called the move by the White House “petulant” and the act “un-American.”
Using Sean Spicer’s own words against him, where in December Spicer had said that the Trump administration would not ban the media from government access (because the press having access was the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship), Tapper commented on the administration’s seeming lack of openness.
“The White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability. This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking. The word is ‘un-American.'”