Yesterday the God-King shut media outlets who criticise him out of a White House briefing. (More)
“That’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship”
“Look, there’s a big difference between a campaign where it is a private venue using private funds and a government entity,” Spicer replied [in a Politico interview]. “I think we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government. That is something you can’t ban an entity from.”
“Conservative, liberal or otherwise,” he continued, “that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship. I think there is a vastly different model when it comes to government and what should be expected, and that’s on both sides.”
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.
Except Spicer invited all the right-wing outlets and told the gaggle why he’d shut out those five outlets:
— POLITICO (@politico) February 24, 2017
Spicer: We’re going to aggressively push back. We’re not just going to sit back and let, you know, false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there.
So yes, those outlets were excluded because the God-King doesn’t like criticism and insists any story that doesn’t paint him with a halo is “fake news.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper put it bluntly, per the Washington Post:
“It’s not acceptable,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper said on his afternoon program. “In fact, it’s petulant … This White House doesn’t seem to value a free press. There’s a word for this. The word is ‘un-American.’”
The New York Times, Washington Post, and National Press Club were equally harsh:
Dean Baquet, editor of the New York Times, protested the decision in a statement that read in part, “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties…. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
The Washington Post did not have a reporter present at the time of the gaggle. However, Executive Editor Martin Baron said it was “appalling” that other journalists were blocked.
“This is an undemocratic path that the administration is traveling,” Baron said. “There is nothing to be gained from the White House restricting the public’s access to information. We are currently evaluating what our response will be if this sort of thing happens again.”
National Press Club President Jeffrey Ballou said it was “deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable that the White House is actively running a campaign against a constitutionally enshrined free and independent press … The action harks back to the darkest chapters of U.S. history and reeks of undemocratic, un-American and unconstitutional censorship.”
And the Wall Street Journal won’t stand for it either:
WSJ says they would not have participated in gaggle had they known of the blocking of others and said they won't in future pic.twitter.com/Osef9I0XPx
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) February 24, 2017
Today’s New York Daily News splash is “Freedom
of from the Press,” while Bloomberg News canceled their White House Correspondent’s Dinner after-party and CNN may skip the dinner altogether.
And lest you think this is just media navel-gazing, New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz disagrees:
But in the president’s telling, fake news outlets and skewed pollsters aren’t the only ones who have been abusing their First Amendment rights – the other enemies of the American people are … the American people who didn’t vote for Donald Trump.
Referring to the town hall protests in support of Obamacare, Trump said, “The people that you’re watching, they’re not you. They’re largely – many of them are the side that lost, you know they lost the election. It’s like, how many elections do we have to have?”
The election is over. The world’s biggest fan of the First Amendment won. So, if you voted against him, it’s time to shut up.
The God-King grossly overestimates his importance. And no, we will not shut up.
Photo Credit: Richard Shiro (AP), Salon
Good day and good nuts