- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 25, 2017

CNN’s Jake Tapper lashed out at White House on Friday as “un-American” after the network and other news organizations were denied entry into a press gaggle with White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Politico joined CNN on a list of media outlets that were excluded from a 13-member “pool” that traditionally includes the five major networks. The White House has expanded the number of organizations that have access to the group, which critics say gives it the ability to punish unfavorable coverage.

Members of the pool are responsible for disseminating information to other outlets after the event ends.

“This is a wild deviation from basic White House protocol, which normally allows any credentialed news organization to participate,” Mr. Tapper said, Mediaite reported. “I have to say, even in the darkest days of the Obama White House’s war against Fox News, the Obama White House never banned Fox from attending any sort of press gaggle or briefing. This is clearly President Trump punishing news organizations for providing basic accountability.”

Former President Obama technically did not ban Fox News from a press gaggle, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Washington bureau chiefs of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel and NBC vowed not to take part in an October 2009 interview with executive pay czar Kenneth Feinberg when the Obama administration tried to exclude Fox News.

“Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us—a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs,” Bret Baier of Fox’s “Special Report” tweeted Friday.

SEE ALSO: Chuck Todd: Donald Trump’s criticism of media ‘un-American’

Mr. Tapper went on to call the White House’s actions “not acceptable” and “petulant.”

“Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless,” CNN said in a statement released Friday.

President Donald Trump has had a turbulent relationship with the network and has referred to its reporting as “fake” news.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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