In the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments criticizing major media outlets, reporters from several of those outlets were excluded Friday from a White House press “gaggle,” a briefing of reporters by Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, in Spicer’s office.
“The WHCA [White House Correpondents Associaton] board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” said Jeff Mason, the group’s president, in an email to White House reporters. “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.”
Within a relatively short time, reporters shared a recording of the gaggle with other members of the White House press corp.
News organizations including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining the gaggle, according to various media reports.
The Associated Press chose not to participate in the gaggle following the move by Spicer.
“The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible,” Lauren Easton, the AP’s director of media relations, said in a statement..
News organizations that were allowed in included the conservative website Breitbart news. The site’s founder, Steve Bannon, is chief strategist to President Donald Trump.
Earlier Friday in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, President Donald Trump railed against the media.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, said in a statement. “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.”
Contributing: Associated Press