Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The White House excluded several major U.S. news organizations, including some it has openly criticized, from an off-camera briefing held by the White House press secretary on Friday, representatives of the organizations said.
Reporters for CNN, The New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed were not allowed into the session in the office of press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer’s off-camera briefing, or “gaggle,” replaced the usual televised daily news briefing on Friday in the White House briefing room. He did not say why those particular news organizations were excluded, a decision which drew strong protests.
Reuters was included in the session, along with about 10 other news organizations, including Bloomberg and CBS.
Spicer said his team decided to have a gaggle in his office instead of a full briefing in the larger White House briefing room. “Our job is to make sure that we’re responsive to folks in media. We want to make sure we answer your questions, but we don’t need to do everything on camera every day,” he said.
Reporters at the Associated Press and Time magazine walked out of the briefing when hearing that others had been barred from the session.
Off-camera gaggles are not unusual. The White House often invites handpicked outlets in for briefings, typically for specific topics. But briefings and gaggles in the White House are usually open to all outlets and they are free to ask anything.
A pool reporter from Hearst Newspapers was included in the gaggle on Friday, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said, and was preparing a pool report for distribution to the entire press corps. Media outlets allowed into the gaggle also shared their audio with others.
President Donald Trump has regularly attacked the media. Earlier on Friday, at a gathering of conservative activists, he heaped criticism on news organizations that he said provide “fake news” and called them an “enemy” of the American people.Speech