Key media figures lined up Friday to condemn the White House's decision to block several news outlets from covering a question-and-answer session with press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerJudge blocks Spicer, Vought bid to return to Naval Academy board Chris Wallace labels Psaki 'one of the best press secretaries ever' John Legend, Chrissy Teigen troll Sean Spicer MORE.
The administration blocked a number of outlets from Spicer's gaggle Friday afternoon, including The Hill, the New York Times, CNN, Politico, the BBC, BuzzFeed and others.
The move drew wide-ranging rebukes. CNN, which has been particularly targeted by President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE in recent weeks, called the move “an unacceptable development ” in a statement, adding: "Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless.”
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, whose publication was also left out Friday, said in a statement "nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history."
"We strongly protest the exclusion of the New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national importance."
Other top journalism figures also weighed in, including Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who noted that journalists at CNN and the Times stood up for Fox when the Obama administration sought to exclude it:
Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us-a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs https://t.co/8Vjcs0KCPR— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 24, 2017
If the WH is blocking reporters from press briefings than the WH briefing model is dead. Better figure out a different way to cover the WH.— Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson) February 24, 2017
The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association also fiercely criticized the decision.
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” 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 have a further discussion with White House staff.”
Spicer did allow several right-leaning outlets to attend the gaggle, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network.
Also attending were Fox News, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, Bloomberg and Reuters, among others.
Trump has repeatedly attacked media coverage of his administration, accusing outlets and even individual journalists of bias against him.
The president derided the media during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier Friday.
“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news,” he told listeners in National Harbor, Md. “It’s phony, it’s fake.”
“I called the fake news the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none. I’m not against the media. I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserved them. I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources."