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Trump Whitehouse bans critical media from briefing

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, February 25th, 2017 - 54 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, journalism, Media, newspapers, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

How very Goebbels of it.  The Trump White House has banned some media from a briefing given by White House spokesperson Sean Spicer.  From the New York Times:

Journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.

But according to a Trump spokesperson everyone was invited and they added in a few more reporters just to be sure.  The statement is contrary to reality.  In days gone by the technical term for this sort of statement was a lie.  Again from the New York Times:

A White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, played down the events in an email on Friday afternoon.

“We invited the pool so everyone was represented,” Ms. Sanders wrote. “We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that.”

Mr. Spicer’s small-group Friday session, known as a gaggle, was scheduled as a no-camera event, less formal than his usual briefings that are carried live on cable news. But past administrations have not hand-selected outlets that can attend such sessions.

“It was clear that they let in a lot of news outlets with less reach who are Trump-friendly,” said Noah Bierman, a White House reporter for The Los Angeles Times, who was barred. “They let in almost every network but CNN. That’s concerning, the handpicking aspect of it.”

Two of the barred outlets, CNN and The Times, have been a particular focus of Mr. Trump’s ire. And during the presidential campaign, some journalists from BuzzFeed News and Politico were prohibited from attending Trump rallies.

The only word for this is fascist.  It is petulant fascism which makes it worse, not having the desired effect in that the excluded agencies can no doubt source the information from other sources, yet displaying a complete indifference for first amendment rights.  We are not at the jackboot and book burning stage, yet.

And in other news the Trump Whitehouse is going to to revoke White House guidance on transgender students’ use of public school bathrooms and allow States to decide while at the same time has indicated that federal powers concerning marijuana will be exercised.  The attack on LGBT rights will no doubt upset Colonial Viper who confidently predicted that Trump would protect LGBT rights a few months ago.

54 comments on “Trump Whitehouse bans critical media from briefing ”

  1. red-blooded 1

    I only wish that I was surprised. These are frightening times.

    Edit – I’m not only wishing that I was surprised. I also wish this group of cantankerous cankers weren’t ensconced in the White House and shitting all over the better parts of the US constitution.

  2. McFlock 2

    I don’t mind the evil. It’s the clumsy, stupid, garish nature of the evil that especially vexes me.

    It’s as if trump’s interior decorator is now the white house chaplain.

    • Morrissey 2.1

      I don’t mind the evil.

      Yes, I remember many comments by you, and people like you, in support of the evil perpetrated by the Obama regime. Hopey-Changey, Hillary, Rahm and the rest of the gang were certainly a lot more debonaire and intelligent than the present incumbents, I’ll grant you that.

      • red-blooded 2.1.1

        So you truly think that Clinton would be (and Obama was) no better than this bunch of racist thugs? Look what they’ve managed to do in 30 days. There’s nearly 3 years and 11 months to suffer through yet. And before you start talking about drones and wars (neither of which is a good thing, but both of which will continue to be a feature of US policy and behaviour under Trump) let’s remember that he’s already had drone strikes carried out in Yeme. Just give him time for more.

        • Morrissey

          Certainly, red-blooded, Trump is a frightening, dangerous and unstable person—and the people in his cabinet of horrors are worse than him.

          But…Hillary Clinton? You think she’s not a racist or a supporter of terror? Really?

      • McFlock 2.1.2

        Hey, morrissey.

        Dunno about “supporting” evil. Just going for less evil than trump or putin or assad.

        • Morrissey

          I agree with you that Trump is obviously a nastier and cruder person than Obama, but could you support your contention that he and his cronies were “less evil than Putin or Assad”?

          Perhaps you have forgotten about Obama’s participation in the never ending U.S. mission to destroy democracy in Central and South America; his hounding of dissenters and journalists; his drone bombing campaigns in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; his expression of support for Israel during and after its massacres in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank; his support for the head-choppers, suicide-bombers and torturers of Daesh and Al Nusra in Syria; not to forget his failure to intervene in the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict and his almost complete silence as police in cities all across the United States strangled, shot and beat black citizens to death.

          But, assuming you have NOT forgotten all that, we’d be interested to learn exactly why you assert that the man who presided over these crimes was “less evil than Putin or Assad”.

          • McFlock

            Would “we” really? Because this ain’t what the post is about, and I’m not going to provide a list of keywords fot you to make up more delusional bullshit.

            Anyway, I see in today’s open mike you’re shitting on one of these guys. And not the ones a normal person would. Such a shame that your “valid criticism” circuit is perpetually shorted across your “patronising and catastrophically stupid” circuit.

            • Morrissey

              …keywords fot you to make up more delusional bullshit.

              Which bit of my list of crimes perpetrated by Obama and his cronies is “delusional”?

              Anyway, I see in today’s open mike you’re shitting on one of these guys.

              Fool, I was criticizing John Lewis for his decision to support the lying campaign of Hillary Clinton. But you go and accuse me of criticising him for his activism of a half-century ago, if you like. Your attacks are similar to a Trump tweet: nobody with a lick of sense takes them seriously either.

  3. Glenn 3

    News outlets in the meeting:

    Franco Ordonez, McClatchy

    CBS, Margaret Brennan (pool)

    Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones (pool)

    Washington Times

    Washington Examiner, Gabby Morrongiello

    One America News Network, Trey Yingst

    NBC, Hallie Jackson

    ABC, Cecilia Vargas

    Fox News, John Roberts

    AFP, Andrew Beatty (pool)


    Hearst (pool)

    Bloomberg, Justin Sink (pool)

    Fox News, John Roberts

    Emel Bayrak, TRT-TURK (pool)

    News outlets kept out of the meeting:



    Roll Call

    New York Times


    The Hill

    Real Clear Politics



    Al Jazeera

    New York Daily News

    The Guardian

    The Los Angeles Times

    • Sacha 3.1

      Incorrect list. For example, I’ve seen via twitter:

      Excluded from briefing:

      – CNN
      – NYT
      – LA Times
      – Politico
      – The Hill
      – Buzzfeed
      – Daily Mail
      – BBC
      – Guardian


      – AP
      – TIME

      • Sacha 3.1.1

        Coincidentally, most of those excluded publications are pursuing stories about the relationship between Chumpy and the Russkies.

        • mauī

          lol in other words, suppliers of fake news, or very fake news. What a loss to the art of journalism.

          • Sabine

            ain’t it convenient that when one might not like the ‘news’ one just screams ‘fake news’ bigly, tremendously fake news’ and excludes these purveyors of ‘fake news’ to the rubbish bin of history.

            mate, we should do the same thing here.

            • mauī

              I’m going to Glenn Greenwald for backup, I know I’d rather trust him than a sold out media congolomerate:

              Well, so, first of all, there’s a media issue here, which is that if you look at The Wall Street Journal report, it’s pretty much exactly the same as every other significant report about Russia over the last six months, many of which have proven to be completely false. It’s based on anonymous officials making extremely vague claims. Even The Wall Street Journal says, “We don’t know who’s doing this, withholding information. We don’t know how much information is being withheld.”

              Secondly, the idea that Donald Trump is some kind of an agent or a spy of Russia, or that he is being blackmailed by Russia and is going to pass secret information to the Kremlin and endanger American agents on purpose, is an incredibly crazy claim that has been nowhere proven to be true. It reminds me of the kind of things Glenn Beck used to say about Obama while he stood at his chalkboard and drew those—those unstable charts that he drew, these wild conspiracy theories that are without evidence.

              We ought to have a serious, sober, structured investigation of the claims that Russia hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s emails and that there were improper ties between Donald Trump and the Russians, and that ought to be made public so that we can see the information. But this constant media obsession of leaking whatever someone whispers to them about Donald Trump and Russia, because they know it will get their reporters huge numbers of retweets on Twitter and tons of traffic by people who are being fed what they want to hear, is really feeding into the worst kind of hysteria and even fake news that the media says they’re trying to combat. These are really serious claims that merit serious investigation, and that’s exactly what we’re not getting.


              • Glenn not yet buying the intel community’s line on Russia does not support cutting the media companies running that story out of the white house press room.

                Seriously, tweet Glenn about it, I’m pretty sure he’ll say CNN et. all belong in that briefing room even if from time to time he disagrees with them. Obama didn’t kick out Fox even though half the time they actually are fake news, because he knew it wasn’t up to him to determine that.

                • mauī

                  The difference is that all that Trump has got is Fox news, while the rest of the main networks are out to get him. Obama had establishment backing and got a comparable free ride through his presidency from the media, similar to what Key had here.

                  Banning certain media might be extreme, but if you’re not treated fairly and evenly by journalists then friction is going to happen. Andrew Little has had that here and obviously finds it frustrating and the result might be different if he wasn’t trying to keep everyone on side.

                  • McFlock

                    All trump has got is fox news?

                    Wouldn’t that be a broad hint to you?

                  • Jan Rivers

                    It’s a bit more complicated that the article implies. Its poor optics, unsubtle. clumsy and creates an incendiary environment but its not quite all it seems.

                    Isn’t the closest equivalent in NZ terms is like being locked out of the post-cabinet press conference which all accredited journalists can attend as NZ doesn’t generally have parliamentary briefings from senior press advisors? Closing that session selectively to some media would be a big deal.

                    However even here we have no idea what private meetings occur between press and politicians at which ideas are proposed for kite-flying by selected journalists. In NZ politicians also avoid this problem of possibly unsympathetic media coverage by making speeches to private, invitation only gatherings or at events where membership status or the price of admission makes entry impossible to most. The speeches are either not reported (because no journalists are present) and/or the speeches are not published. A select group knows what the public does not.

                    In the US Obama, as President, held many private, off the record, briefings with specific media outlets as a way of deepening the understanding of reporters as well as allowing for ‘speculative’ writing based on comments made at an actual briefing.


                    On the positive side, Obama was also the the first president to keep “White House visitor logs that document who attended the discussions. It is now possible to match up the columnist briefings with the columns that result.”

                    It was a pretty subtle dance in the US on both sides but arguably a useful approach provided the journalists were doing their job as critical analysers and communicators of what they heard.

                  • Trump hasn’t even got Fox News. Some of the less opinion-oriented parts of the network have started calling him on his BS, too. You should absolutely assume Trump is lying until vindicated by credible fact-checkers, (ie. not breitbart, not fox opinion shows, not infowars, etc… etc…) not because he’s a right-winger, but because he’s a notorious liar and seems to have some serious issues with narcissism.

                    Banning media is not the way for a politician to get a fair hearing. If the media really is filtering them unfairly, then there are plenty of ways politicians can get their message directly to the public. They should still engage with the media in a way that’s not as overtly hostile as Trump.

                    And yes, I agree Little hasn’t had a fair shake. I don’t think banning “Newshub” or the Herald or whoever is the fix to that, it would only make things worse. The way to get around a hostile media is simply to be more open with policy details and talk directly to voters.

              • Sabine

                as i said, if we don’t like the media we just ban them, and only keep the media that says what we like. I mean whats not to like. 🙂 and really what could happen?

              • Sacha

                ” the idea that Donald Trump is some kind of an agent or a spy of Russia”

                Red herring straw man. Nobody has ever claimed that. Just typing it reduces your credibility.

          • Sacha

            Yes, all those sudden recent deaths of Russians mentioned in dispatches are just a big coincidence, if the dossier was fake. Can I interest you in some melted beams or contrails?

            • mauī

              Sure, I’ll stick with the other conspiracy theorists like Greenwald, Assange and Pilger.

              After all they’re not really truth seekers, paid for Russian stooges probably, and backed by large dollops of corporate money. /sarc

          • Pete

            If the bearers of fake news were banned, Trump and Spicer wouldn’t get within cooee of the briefings.

      • Glenn 3.1.2


    • Bearded Git 3.2

      From the Guardian:

      “Outlets seeking to gain entry whose requests were denied included the Guardian, the New York Times, Politico, CNN, BuzzFeed, the BBC, the Daily Mail and others.”

      When the Daily Mail is too left-wing you are starting to fall off the scale

  4. Macro 4

    No matter! Donald will tell us all what is going on.
    395 tweets in 35 days and counting.
    Donald is the Greatest Tweeter! Tremendous! He has the best words ever. NO FAKE NEWS from Donald EVER. NY Times – SO SAD!

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    The White House just asked the press corp a question: “who among you are loyal?”

    CBS runs the story.

    ABC’s lead is rather more robust, reporting on theWhite House’s hypocrisy.

    At some point disloyal republicans will have to be purged too.

  6. Skeptic 6

    I see the Pro-Trump trolls are out in force today – or maybe I’ve misread what’s been written. I seem to recall a skit – done semi-seriously by Michael Moore just before the US election as part of a show done in “Trump Territory” – small town America (otherwise known as “fly over country”). This skit predicted that within a month after inauguration (incidentally Michael Moore was one of the very few political pundits who correctly predicted Trump winning the electoral college vote and losing the popular vote) Trump would alienate several sections of the media and ban them from White House Press briefings. He also predicted Trump moving the Presidential base from the White House to one or other of his properties (this has happened). His other prediction is of Trump’s impeachment, and followed by a warning of a Pence administration. Well – we’ll see!

  7. HDCAFriendlyTroll 7

    The Don bans FAKE NEWS outlets. TOO BAD!

  8. Muttonbird 8

    I’ll be interested to hear how CV defends this, the exclusion of critical media, and the proposed expansion of the military.

    • Andre 8.1

      You’ll need to find out elsewhere. CV is banned til late October.

      • Xanthe 8.1.1

        What! i saw CV here yesterday, (or was it the day before)…..what happened?

        • Andre

          It happened on the “1984” post. I just tried putting a link to it but that seems to have gone into moderation.

          • Xanthe

            Oh i found it, Weka, thats a pity and a loss to the discourse. further loss of respect, dont like abuse of power.. or disingenuous manipulatrix.

            [lprent: CV got done for exactly the same kind of crap that I banned him for last time.

            I have some code that I need to write especially for you to demonstrate what manipulation really means. In this case from a geek. Lets give you something to really complain about.

            I have a wee job of work to do first, so I’m putting you on a temporary ban for having a go at a moderator.

            But when you get back in 2 weeks or whenever I finish it, your commenting will be restricted.

            What I am thinking is that all your comments will come with a misogyny warning, and you will be restricted to twitter length – 140 characters. ]

            • Ad

              Stop asking for trouble by criticising the moderation.

            • red-blooded

              Xanthe, I don’t like bans either (and in the context of a discussion in which most are criticising the ban on media outlets deemed to be unfriendly by the Trump administration it seems hypocritical to exclude some because they are unfriendly to those who write for an moderate this site). Having said that, this is not a government site – it’s run by private individuals and I think we have to accept that they get to set the rules. And maybe I’m reading you wrong, but it seems that you’re calling weka a “disingenuous manipulatrix”. If so, I’m calling you out for that comment. I don’t like constant attacks on women that are expressed in gendered terms.

  9. Skeptic 9

    I’m sick and tired of politicians and others describing news they don’t want to hear as “Fake News”. This is bullshit. There’s news – reporting of facts (and for those of you who can’t understand plain English – facts are neutral, incontrovertible, undeniable, real happenings) and there’s opinion – which is a horse of a different colour. Neither is there such a thing as “Alternative Facts” – that’s just another term for lies – as is the word “spin”.
    As a lapsed Catholic I still remember my catechism where we learned our 10 Commandments – the 7th being “thou shalt not bear false witness”. Why is this relevant? Because all of the banned news outlets do NOT make up the news. They report what’s been said and what’s been done. They point out the, in some cases, glaringly obvious inconsistencies. Most of them put these inconsistencies together and present an accurate picture of reality. Much of the opinions expressed by many of the respected journalists, who having had years of experience dealing with shady politicians and their professional liars (spin doctors), come up with a very reasoned argument supporting a reasoned conclusion. For nutters who describe this process as “fake news” – well that’s an insult to the intelligence of the rest of us.
    As far as Trump goes, there is no doubt in my mind – he is without any shadow of a doubt – a liar. When he gets caught out in his lies, he blusters and blames others. When this doesn’t work, he weasels. When neither works, he does what every dictator has done before him – attacks and bans the news outlets that expose his lies and bluster.
    When I looked up this online column, I was looking for any left leaning news outlet (there’s so few left in NZ). What I’m finding is too many – far too many – right wing trolls. My answer to them is – if you want to support right policies or right wing politicians – go find a right wing paper or online outfit and do your trolling there – leave us the hell alone! Animated discussion is one thing – outright repetition of the bullshit seen on Stuff and other NZ, Aust & US right wing blogs/online news outlets is another. At times I wonder if I’ve joined the right group – have I?

  10. RedLogix 10

    Can’t tell whether it will be the Trump machine or the corporate media that will self-destruct first. It could be a tight race.

    • Andre 10.1

      Not sure why corporate media might be on a path to self destruction. Subscriptions have apparently shot up since the Chump’s election.


    • Ad 10.2

      Have you ever seen the tv series The Newsroom?

      The media outlets that have been targeted are those who make breakthrough journalism.

      Who knows if they are worth it, on balance.

      But when the rest of the news media are reduced in expertise, and liquefied into a great steaming, roiling radioactive lake of amplified emotion, I think I’d miss the likes of
      – CNN,
      – LA Times,
      – Businessweek,
      – Bloomberg,
      – the Aussie Financial Times,
      – Frankfurter Allgemeiner,
      – Al Jazeera,
      – The Guardian,
      – the BBC,
      – the Washington Post,
      – heck even Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, and the many others.
      They sure won’t ever be replaced by lone wolf hero journalists.

      Some MSM reputations are good, and rightly so.
      In fact, while Trump may seek to diminish some of them, they will outlast him.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        From living and working in North America this past four months I listened to many conversations about Trump.

        Almost everyone understands that Trump did not happen in a vacuum; he happened for a reason … decades of the liberal establishment sneering at the values and interests of ordinary working class Americans. And too many of these blatantly hysterical attacks on Trump (drowning out the more sober considered ones) have exactly the same tone.

        A critical mass of Americans no longer trust their government, matched only by their contempt for a corporate media which acted too long as a cheering squad for neo-liberalism, endless wars and protective of the interests of a tiny wealthy elite.

        I’m not surprised that media subscriptions have arisen. One thing this election has achieved is to rip away the taboo on talking about politics in the work-place. It’s become too big to ignore anymore and apathy is no longer a safe option.

        • Ad

          Agree with all of that.

          Trump has even made it easier to talk workplace politics in Auckland.

          But that’s not a leftie revival. The Dutch election is next, and the anti-immigration vote is ahead.

          I can’t see a resurgence in the global left until we have a square debate about immigration.

  11. Macro 12

    And now, the topic of the evening is the media outlets excluded, not the Priebus interactions w FBI + question of open investigation.

    Maggie Haberman NYT

    So very true!
    Diversion rules….

  12. Glenn 13

    “A few days ago, there was some talk about whether Trump would slow-walk federal disaster relief for the Oroville Dam area. As it turned out, he didn’t, but the possibility was taken seriously for a while.

    This is what makes the Trump presidency so unpredictable. No modern president would even think of taking revenge on a state that voted against him by refusing disaster aid. No modern president would dream of evicting news outlets from a press briefing because they had criticized him. No modern president would lie about easily checkable facts on a routine basis. No modern president would loudly cite every positive bit of economic news as a personal triumph. No modern president since Nixon would casually ask the FBI to take its side in an ongoing investigation.

    It’s not that modern presidents couldn’t do these things. They just didn’t. And we all came to assume that none of them would. The technical machinery of government—collecting data, hiring staffers, working by the rules—would be left alone to operate in a professional and impartial way. But that’s no longer something we can assume.

    Trump is going to find lots of things like this. Things that nobody ever thought of before, but aren’t illegal. Or maybe just slightly illegal. And he’s going to use them to demagogue his enemies and take revenge on people who badmouth him. Fasten your seat belts.”

    • McFlock 13.1

      He actually reminds me a little bit of hitler in more ways than the obvious.

      Part of his success is down to the fact that nobody knew how to deal with him because they’d never encountered anyone like him before. Trump’s still doing things that are absolutely nuts, but they work so far because there’s so much going on so badly and people haven’t yet managed to figure out a concerted and coordinated reaction.

      That’s a bit like the first couple of years of WW2, where hitler’s opposition kept expecting the germans to pause to consolidate and sort out their logistics. But with drugs, a bit of good luck, he got away with ignoring all the generals who advised he do the conventional things, and just ordered another advance.

      Of course, it bit him in the arse when his opposition figured out that he wasn’t doing things like consolidation and yet he still thought he knew better than his generals.

      • Sabine 13.1.1

        i think people have to understand that he really does not care.
        He has this vision of what is truth, and truth is what pleases him. And then there is Bannon, the Tea Party in Congress and Senate that white washes everything he does as long as he signs legislation they like, and the question stands, who is abusing whom and for how long.
        Interesting times.

        I came across this today as i remembered Sophie Scholl who was decapitated 22/021943 for crimes against Germany.

        Quote: ” The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.” Quote End.

        If you have nothing done you have nothing to fear.
        In the mean time http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/25/muhammad-alis-son-detained-by-immigration-staff-and-repeatedly-asked-are-you-muslim-6471736/

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