White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

WASHINGTON (WKRN/AP) — The White House blocked several major news organizations from an informal, on the record White House press briefing on Friday.

CNN said there was no immediate explanation from the White House, which reportedly barred The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico and CNN for the off-camera briefing.

According to CNN, Breitbart News, The Washington Times, and One America News Network were allowed in for the briefing.

Breitbart’s former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is the chief strategist to President Donald Trump.

Reporters line up in hopes of attending a briefing in Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. White House held an off camera briefing in Spicer's office, where they selected who could attend. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Reporters line up in hopes of attending a briefing in Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s office at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. White House held an off camera briefing in Spicer’s office, where they selected who could attend. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Associated Press and Time Magazine reportedly boycotted the briefing because of how it was handled. The White House Correspondents Association also protested the move.

The White House defended the decision not to include some news organizations.

“We invited the pool so everyone was represented. We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

Reaction from barred media outlets was swift.

“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,” Dean Baquet, the Times’ executive editor, said in a statement.

Representatives from CNN agreed.

“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.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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