Some media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, were blocked from a White House briefing Friday just a few hours after President Donald Trump ramped up his criticism of news media at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC).
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not schedule his daily press briefing Friday, instead opting for a “gaggle” or “media scrum” with only for a hand-picked selection of news outlets.
According to several White House correspondents, news organizations CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, POLITICO and BuzzFeed were blocked from the press update with Spicer.
The Associated Press and Time magazine declined to participate in the briefing.
However, organizations including Breitbart, Washington Times, ABC, CBS, Fox and Reuters were invited to attend the meeting with the press secretary.
A number of journalists and politicians took to twitter to voice their concern about being blocked from the briefing.
But the White House defended not to open up the briefing.
“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.
The invite-only media update came just hours after Trump ramped up his criticism of the media and so-called “fake news” while delivering a speech to a large crowd of conservatives.
Trump said he wasn’t against all the press, just “the fake news media or press.”
“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” Trump insisted. “It doesn’t represent the people. It will never represent the people and we’re going to do something about it.”
After being blocked, CNN Communications issued a brief statement on social media, calling the move to block some journalists 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 Communications tweeted.
The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) criticized the White House for its handling of the press.
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” WHCA president Jeff Mason said in a statement. “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
Trump has attacked several news organizations that he has deemed “fake news.”
In January, Trump refused to take a question from a reporter from CNN during his first press conference as then president-elect, telling the journalist “you are fake news.”
Trump refused to take a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
“Mr. President-elect, since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question,” the journalist repeatedly asked at the time.
“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump said. “You are fake news.”
-With files from the Associated Press