White House press shutout is an opportunity for journalists

Daily Editorial Board

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer barred a number of press outlets, including The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, from attending a press briefing on Friday.

The Washington Post notes that such practice is “unusual, if not unprecedented.” The majority of new organizations that were admitted to the briefing have conservative leanings, including Brietbart News, the Washington Times and the One American News Network.

On Friday, President Donald Trump singled out The New York Times and CNN, tweeting “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country.”

The Associated Press and Time magazine declined to attend the briefing in solidarity with their colleagues who were denied access, but if this practice becomes the norm, are reporters to boycott the very events they are supposed to report on?

Trump may rail on the nation’s newspapers of record for promoting fake news, but it’s clear that he only acknowledges the First Amendment when it suits his needs. Trump’s dark fantasy — Orwellian in its very nature — is a media landscape that lionizes his every move, and feeds his narcissism.

But that is not reality. Reporters will continue to seek the truth and report it, and they’ll certainly continue to hold Trump accountable for his actions. Blocking journalists from a press briefing hosted by one of Trump’s cronies won’t stop that.

This, above all else, is an opportunity for deeply incisive, adversarial journalism. And unfortunately for him, it’s unlikely that Trump is prepared for the full-force of uncompromising truth. So be it.