The White House Press Briefing: “You can’t sit with us!”

March 10, 2017

It’s a common, but unfortunate, public relations practice to turn reporters away at certain events. Maybe the venue is small and can’t accommodate a large group. Maybe you discover that some of the reporters who RSVP’d aren’t legitimate. Maybe you’re breaking the news to select media outlets first before going wider. None of these valid reasons, however, were factors in President Trump’s decision to deny major media outlets access to a recent White House press briefing.

Not only are the Associated Press, CNN and The New York Times not fake news outlets, they are some of the most respected brands in the country. While they may have a critical tone when discussing President Trump, they all uphold the common standards of journalistic integrity and ethics. Barring these reporters from White House press briefings is not just a juvenile move by someone who’s had his feelings hurt, it is a strong suggestion that our country’s leader has something to hide. Yes, Breitbart, One America News Network and the Washington Times were all allowed to attend, but they don’t necessarily have the same readers as the banned outlets. The general public does not have the access to our president that the press does, so by only allowing media outlets that support his agenda to attend press briefings, President Trump is effectively keeping information about our government and country from a very large number of Americans. It could easily be argued that this act was a violation of the First Amendment, which prevents the government from interfering with the distribution of information and opinions.

This isn’t a simple PR failure. It is an attack on the American media and on Americans themselves. We depend on our government to be as transparent as possible. Denying trusted news sources access to government news denies the American people that same access. If any more action is taken against our country’s top tier media outlets, fake news will soon be all that’s left.

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