News organizations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing Friday.
Shortly after President Donald Trump delivered a speech blasting media bias, Spicer invited only a small pool of news organizations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps. He also invited several other major news outlets, as well as smaller organizations including the conservative Washington Times, One America News Network and Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is Trump’s chief strategist. When the additional news organizations attempted to gain access, they weren’t allowed to enter.
The White House said it felt “everyone was represented” by those in the pool and the invited organizations.
“We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
When asked by a reporter attending whether he was playing favorites, Spicer said the White House had “shown an abundance of accessibility,” according to an audio recording of the briefing later circulated by the pool.
The pool included Reuters, Bloomberg, CBS, Hearst Newspapers and CBS Radio. Others in the briefing were Fox, NBC and ABC. Bloomberg reported that its reporter was unaware of the exclusions until after the briefing.
In a statement, the correspondent association’s president, Jeff Mason, said the group was “protesting strongly” against how the briefing was handled by the White House.