White House reportedly bars CNN, New York Times, others from press briefing

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The White House excluded some outlets that have provided critical coverage like CNN and the New York Times from an off-camera event that replaced the traditional on-camera daily briefing.

"It is risky for democracy and for holding politicians accountable when a White House excludes tough-minded journalists who criticize them, "tweeted New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse".

"President Donald Trump has said the mainstream media are the enemies of the American people, including taking particular aim at CNN, which he has called "very fake news", and the New York Times, which he has branded "failing" and disgraceful".

Executive editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet, also issued a statement to the paper.

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The White House Correspondents Association board "is protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled by the White House", the organization's president, Jeff Mason of Reuters, said in a statement.

To many, the White House's choice to handpick only certain outlets for Friday's briefing represented an alarming attempt to suppress the free press.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer barred reporters from several large media outlets from participating in a scheduled press briefing Friday.

About two hours later, Trump repeated familiar complaints about the "dishonest media" with a new twist: saying without evidence that news organizations fabricate sources for stories.

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Former President Barack Obama was generous with his time in terms of allowing reporters to interview him individually, but his Q&A sessions were far fewer compared to Bush.

"The threat we have here is that if the president can exclude whoever he wants, you're going to have nobody but Breitbart, Pravda and Russia Today at the press conferences", Reese said.

The confusing actions came on a day when the White House again fought with CNN and the media over a report that they asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to publicly knock down reports that the agency was investigating communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Politico's Jake Sherman raised the question of how a Trump White House might deal with outlets it didn't like, given that some had been blocked from attending Trump campaign events.

Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organisations credentialed to cover the White House.

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