White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held an off-camera press briefing on Friday instead of his daily briefing which is usually broadcast live from the White House. In a decision that drew criticism from many journalists, Spicer kept a number of leading national U.S. media outlets out of the briefing, including CNN, the New York Times, the L.A. Times and Politico.
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The first two have been targets of Trump's accusations for months.
After being asked if this decision was a result of these outlets' coverage of Trump , Spicer explained, that "it was my decision to expand the press pool" by adding other outlets, including some more supportive of President Trump.
Responding to the incident, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times, said in a statement: “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.”
In December, Spicer was asked during an interview with Fox News if the Trump White House would allow full press access to journalists from outlets that are more critical of Trump. He replied that such outlets would "absolutely" continue to have full access.
The incident came only hours after Trump continued to rail against classic news media and what he called "fake news." In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said that media reports based on unnamed sources – a common practice in journalism – should not be allowed. Continuing
“I’m against the people who make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. [Then] you will see stories dry up like you have never seen before,” he said, though he himself as used such sources to back his own claims.
Regarding so-called fake news, he said media “doesn’t represent the people”, citing his own election victory as proof: “Our victory was a win like nobody has ever seen before.”
Regarding his own reference to a non-existent incident in Sweden, reportedly based on a Fox report on a documentary, Trump seemed reluctant to admit his error, and instead said that though "he loves Sweden," no one was reporting on the crises allegedly caused by its immigration policy. "Take a look at what's happening in Germany in France," he said.