The Trump administration upped the ante in its fight with CNN on Friday, banning the network from receiving a White House news briefing, according to The Washington Post.
CNN was one of a number of media sources barred from the Friday “gaggle” — a non-televised media briefing — at the White House, along with The New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed.
The decision to exclude the outlets, the White House said, did not have to do with their political affiliation. In fact, the mainstream media was relatively well-represented at the briefing, with CBS, ABC, NBC, Bloomberg, The Associated Press and Time being invited. (The latter two, however, boycotted the event.)
However, it didn’t take long for CNN to respond with typical outrage:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
While banning networks from a penny ante press “gaggle” may seem to be inviting acrimony over media freedom, let’s face facts: Of all the networks that have treated President Trump’s election as the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, none have comported themselves with the conspicuous lack of dignity or perspective that CNN has.
It isn’t that CNN is “reporting facts they don’t like.” It’s that they treat the entire Trump administration as if this were the last days of Weimar Germany and are somehow astonished that this doesn’t make them popular with the White House media-relations people.
They’re the network, after all, that said at a news conference that Trump’s criticism of them was “undermining the people’s faith in the First Amendment, freedom of the press” — as if the First Amendment somehow shielded them from criticism.
And it isn’t as if CNN even feigns fairness. An opinion piece posted on its website after the gaggle contumely bore the openly antagonistic headline: “Why punishing the media will backfire on Trump.”
New York writer Errol Louis made it clear that the media had prejudged the new president as guilty of something.
“The Trump White House is a full-employment program for investigative reporters, and they are building an impressive, devastating body of work, thanks to a president who routinely invents facts and utters or tweets outright falsehoods almost daily,” Louis wrote.
If and when Louis manages to find this “devastating body of work,” I’d certainly love to see him publish it. Louis mentioned “obvious financial conflicts of interest and troubling ties to Russia,” which are the usual suspects whenever these overheated anti-Trump jeremiads are published. I fail to remember the “devastating body of work” CNN racked up about the “obvious financial conflicts of interest and troubling ties” to foreign nations the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation had. Maybe I was too busy watching “Moesha” reruns that day.
If the Trump administration was banning any network that provided negative coverage of the president from the White House press room, yes, that would ideological bullying and a decimation of media freedom. As one can see from the list of gaggle invitees, that clearly wasn’t the case.
CNN has made it clear that it will do anything within its power to destroy President Trump. They proved that yet again on Friday, when they posted an angry article lambasting the Trump administration for not letting CNN impugn the White House with impunity. Agree or disagree with the administration’s decision, that certainly says everything you need to know.
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H/T The Right Scoop