WASHINGTON, February 27, 2017 — The White House got it right: Last week, Trump administration spokesman Sean Spicer refused to allow The New York Times, CNN, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed into a morning press briefing known as a “gaggle.”
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties. We strongly protest,” said The New York Times.
“While we strongly object to the White House’s apparent attempt to punish news outlets whose coverage it does not like, we won’t let these latest antics distract us from continuing to cover this administration fairly and aggressively,” said BuzzFeed.
“This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House,” said CNN in a statement. Its story on the matter said the banishment raised “alarm among media organizations and First Amendment watchdogs.”
Did anyone miss the content of Spicer’s briefing?
ABC, CBS, Fox News, The Washington Times, among many others, were present and accounted for. The White House provided a transcript of the pool event.
The White House move was no attack on the First Amendment. As President Donald Trump explained in his speech before CPAC attendees on Friday, “I’m not against the media, I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources.”
“They’re very dishonest people,” Trump insisted, “In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people – the fake news. They dropped off the word fake. And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy.”
He was most likely referring to the biased reporting by the banished.
All the consternation by the media exiles was not over Trump’s so-called assault on the First Amendment but at having to read, second hand, the competition’s account of Spicer’s gaggle.
The mainstream media got the story. The American people got the story. CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed and the Los Angeles Times also got the story.
The only difference is they had to get it from Fox News, the Washington Times, ABC and CBS News.
In other words, the First Amendment was nobly served.
That begs the question: in what way was the U.S. Constitution injured by exiling the purveyors of fake news?
Last January, Amanda Taub, of The New York Times no less, was spot on when diagnosing the problem of fake news:
“The fake-news phenomenon is not the result of personal failings. And it is not limited to one end of the political spectrum. Rather, Americans’ deep bias against the political party they oppose is so strong that it acts as a kind of partisan prism for facts…”
And by the reckoning of the Washington Post, the biases of a rather influential group of Americans contributes to their “deep bias against the political party they oppose, “Just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. That’s far fewer than even a decade ago,” said the Post.
With time, the media outlets exiled from the White House may come to learn that “fake news” is not a new phenomenon.
These fake news outlets reported, with straight faces:
- That the Obama years were “scandal free,” blithely disregarding the hundreds of innocents murdered by Mexican drug cartels using weapons provided by his Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms under the direction of his Attorney General, Eric Holder.
- That his government-run health care monstrosity is an affordable, well-oiled machine.
- That the worst economic calamity to befall America since the Great Depression ended the very year Obama entered office in 2009.
- That Hillary Clinton would, with absolute certainty and with polls to back it up, be the 45th president of the United States.
Fake, fake, fake and fake.
Obama and Hillary are Democrats. As are 93 percent of the purveyors of fake news.
Fake news, as President Trump has pointed out time and again, is just another name for liberal media bias.