CNN anchor Jake Tapper delivered some pointed criticism of the Trump administration Friday after several news outlets were blocked from an off-camera White House press briefing, a move that alarmed media organizations and First Amendment watchdogs.
Taking aim at “a White House that has had some difficulty telling the truth” and “a president who seems particularly averse to any criticism,” Tapper said, “They are taking the next step in attempting to avoid checks and balances and accountability. It’s not acceptable; in fact it’s petulant and indicative of a lack of basic understanding of how an adult White House functions.”
In the first weeks of Trump’s presidency, he and his team — including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and counselor Kellyanne Conway — have developed a hostile relationship with the press, accusing several outlets of peddling fake news and referring to the news media as “the enemy of the people.”
On Friday, the White House excluded multiple outlets that have been critical of Trump — including CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, and BuzzFeed — from a non-televised press briefing. At the same time, conservative outlets such as Breitbart News and the Washington Times were allowed in. Reporters from the Associated Press, Time, and USA Today boycotted the briefing in response.
Tapper was quick to note that just two months ago, Spicer said in a panel discussion that open access for the media is “what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.”
Tapper added, “This White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability. This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking: The word is ‘un-American.'”
Watch Tapper in the video above.