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Favorable media barred from White House briefing

The White House blocked a number of news organizations from attending an informal briefing Friday, a rare and surprising move that came amid President Trump's escalating war against the media.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer banned reporters from CNN, the New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed from attending a gaggle, a non-televised briefing, but gave access to a number of other reporters, including those representing conservative outlets.

The White House said the decision was not made to exclude journalists from organizations that have been the most critical of Trump in their reporting in favor of those who are more favorable. Although the invited included Fox News, Breitbart and the Washington Times � all considered sympathetic to the administration � the approved list also included CBS, NBC, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Time and the Associated Press.

However, reporters from AP and Time decided against attending the briefing in protest of the exclusion of other news outlets.

The unusual ban came the same day that Trump, appearing at an annual gathering of conservatives, launched another round of complaints about the news media. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump called reporters dishonest and fake and denounced the use of anonymous sources in reports about his administration.

Trump himself has served as an anonymous source on occasion and in the early 1990s occasionally posed as a fake anonymous source to promote himself. His blast about anonymous sourcing came a few hours after senior White House officials demanded anonymity from reporters in a briefing to criticize a CNN report that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had asked FBI officials to publicly disavow stories about Trump campaign aides' contacts with Russian sources.

While Trump made lambasting the media a regular feature of his presidential campaign � and banned about a dozen news organizations from covering his rallies � he seemed to ratchet up his rhetoric last week by tweeting that various news outlets were the enemy of the American people. He repeated that description on Friday in his speech at CPAC.

Source: Al Alam


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