The White House has officially moved to silence the media.
Earlier today, Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, exemplifying a divide between the press and the Trump administration, calling the media “the enemy of the people.”
Hours later, several news outlets were barred from an off-camera White House press briefing. CNN, the New York Times, Politico, and BuzzFeed were among the mainstream media outlets that were banned from the briefing, as the White House teetered on the line of First Amendment violation.
Sarah Sanders released a statement to defend the decision saying, the White House “had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today.”
According to reports, the pool includes a correspondent from one television network and one print outlet. However, while NBC and Fox News among others were allowed to attend the meeting, CNN was the only outlet barred. In addition, the administration allowed conservative news outlets in, including Breitbart News and One America News Network.
Although invited to attend, the Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the meeting because of the block.
“This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House. Apparently, this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless,” CNN said in a statement.
Despite CNN’s statement in response to their barring, when asked if the news outlet was banned because of the administration’s issue with their journalism, Sean Spicer reiterated the White House’s initial statement regarding the pool.
“We had it as a pool, and then we expanded it, and we added some folks to come cover it. It was my decision to expand the pool,” he said.
New York Times executive editor released a statement as well, detailing the outlet’s protest against the administration’s decision, as did the White House Correspondents Association
“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 WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House. We encourage the organizations that were allowed in the share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff,” the statement read.