Dem trashes Spicer’s decision to block news outlets from briefing
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A New York Democratic lawmaker on Saturday slammed White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerWhite House condemns violent video Trump calls for votes for Spicer on 'Dancing With The Stars' Ex-Trump officials met with Zelensky campaign aides at Trump hotel earlier this year: report MORE’s decision to omit several news organizations from a briefing the previous day, calling a free press “more vital now than ever."

At a small gathering outside The New York Times offices in Manhattan, Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings Maloney to serve as acting Oversight chairwoman after Cummings's death Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 MORE (D-N.Y.) said the move by Spicer was an attack on press freedom, and urged the Trump administration to open up access to the news media, according to The Associated Press.

“There’s no democracy without freedom of the press,” Maloney said, according to Newsday. "It’s absolutely vital, and you can’t single out and exclude based on the content of what a reporter writes. You can’t do that."

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Spicer on Friday decided to forego his standard daily press briefing, and opted instead for a smaller “gaggle” in his office with reporters.

But several news organizations – including The New York Times, CNN, The Hill and Politico – were barred from attending. Spicer, however, allowed several conservative news outlets into the session, along with some major networks such as ABC.

The move drew immediate backlash from news organizations and journalist groups, who condemned the block as highly unusual and inappropriate. The Associated Press and Time magazine, whose reporters were both allowed in the gaggle, refused to attend, because of the way it was handled.

Trump and his administration have long had an adversarial relationship with the press, and have ramped up their rhetoric against the media in recent weeks. Trump himself often refers to news reports that cover him critically as “fake news.”