Media Outlets Blacklisted After CNN Report On White House Pressuring FBI To Downplay Trump Collusion With Russia

From the February 24 edition of CNN Newsroom:

Video file

BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): The breaking news is the fact that we have just learned here at CNN that CNN has been blocked from a White House gaggle. A gaggle essentially informal gathering of reporters. Print, radio, television, coming together to be briefed, in this case by the White House. The White House daily briefing not happening today. And traditionally you've seen the pictures. Lots of reporters were included in that. This is so incredibly significant because this has never happened in this administration. Not only is CNN blocked, other organizations blocked, The New York Times, the LA Times, and Politico. Apparently, the White House Correspondents Association is protesting and as we're getting more information, just a little bit of context as we've been taking CPAC, this conservative conference in Washington, D.C. We heard from the president this morning and he doubled down on his tweet from just a couple of days ago, essentially saying the media is the enemy of the American people. His chief strategist this time yesterday calling the media the opposition party over and over. Let's talk through this. I have Sara Bannon -- forgive me, Sara Murray first joining me, one of our White House correspondents. And so Sara Murray, why aren't we there? 

SARA MURRAY: That is a great question, Brooke. We lined up, were told there was a list ahead of time, which is sort of abnormal, but we put our name on the list and then when we went to enter I was blocked by a White House staffer who said we were not on the list for this gaggle today. Now normally if you are going to do something like this, an extended gaggle off camera, you would have one person from each news outlet. As you know, we have multiple people from CNN here every day. So if you're going to do something beyond a pool, which is sort of the smallest group of reporters, and then disseminates the information, you would have one person from every news outlet. That is not what the White House was doing today. What the White House was doing was hand picking the outlets they wanted in for this briefing, so Breitbart, The Washington Times, One America News Network, news outlets that maybe the White House feels are more favorable, were all allowed in, where as I was blocked from entering, Politico was blocked from entering, The New York Times, the LA Times, all these news outlets were blocked from going to a gaggle. And Brooke, as you pointed out, on a normal day to day basis this would be an on camera, on the record briefing in the White House briefing room where anyone and everyone from any of these news outlets would have the chance to be called on and to answer a question. It's pretty clear that that's not what the White House wanted to do today. And they just wanted to select maybe news outlets that would be more favorable, which I do have to say I think is kind of unfortunate, Brooke, because when you think about the list of priorities that the president has, was ticking through, earlier today. He was talking about serious immigration matters at CPAC, he was talking about serious tax reform, serious health care matters, things that our viewers really care about, and when we go into those briefings, that's an opportunity to ask questions about any number of news stories of the day, and today it's clear they did not want CNN to be involved in that. 

BALDWIN: The story that CNN broke about the FBI and the White House talking when they absolutely shouldn't have been, because of this investigation? So we -- this is not okay. Go ahead Sara.

MURRAY: Well and that's the other thing is the White House is clearly incensed over this excellent CNN reporting about conversations between the White House chief of staff and senior officials in the FBI. In fact, senior administration officials held a gaggle here this morning for almost 45 minutes discussing it. The odds that that story is not yet coming up again, that those Russian contacts are not yet coming up again, are very slim and yet they've decided to exclude CNN, the news organization that broke that story, from this gaggle, which is also, of course, disconcerting.


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