In its latest controversial decision, the White House has refused to let in representatives of certain media organizations at a weekly press briefing. The move is seen as being in tandem with President Trump’s much repeated rhetoric calling certain American news outlets "fake" and "the enemy of the people." Meanwhile, the targeted news organizations reacted angrily, with The New York Times calling it a “petty decision” and “an unmistakable insult to democratic ideals." Press TV has spoken to Brent Budowsky, a columnist at The Hill, and Tony Gosling, an investigative journalist, to shed more light on the Trump administration’s war against the media.
Brent Budowsky maintains that the White House’s ban stems from Trump’s fear of journalists' questions and the impacts they might have on his approval rating.
“The problem is that Trump does not like what the news is reporting and he doesn’t like the negative effect that it is having on his public relations and on his approval rating which is very very low,” Budowsky said.
He expressed hope that President Trump and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer would see the light and bring back the banned journalists.
“I think it is both dangerous and counterproductive to Trump and to any president to declare a holy war against the American media. The last president who tried anything like that was President Richard Nixon and his presidency did not have a good ending,” the analyst recalled.
The other panelist on the show, Tony Gosling, agreed with Budowsky, denouncing the White House’s approach as “unacceptable” and “outrageous.”
He said President Trump must know that the White House press briefings are totally different from briefings held at the Trump Tower where correspondents have no way other than asking soft questions.
"Trump is from the corporate world and this [banning] is what corporations do all the time," Gosling underlined, adding that "this is totally unacceptable because he is supposed to be representing 320 million Americans, not some kind of Trump Tower corporation."
“There is a very important role that these briefings have around the world. There are flaws in the press, but what Trump has done here is absolutely outrageous and these people are right to boycott them,” Gosling noted.
On Friday, Spicer barred several major news organizations from attending the weekly question-and-answer session. The barred media included The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, and CNN, while only several right-leaning news organizations as well as major networks such as ABC were allowed to attend.
The Associated Press and Time magazine were allowed but refused to attend the briefing, because of the way it was handled.
The US president has in recent weeks come under fire by news outlets for his controversial policies, particularly his executive orders.