US & Canada

White House bans certain news media from briefing

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Media captionSean Spicer is challenged about selected media being barred from his press briefing

The White House has barred several major broadcasters and newspapers from attending an informal press briefing.

The BBC, CNN, the New York Times and others were excluded from an audience with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, with no reason given.

It came hours after President Donald Trump delivered another attack on the media in a speech, saying that "fake news" was the "enemy of the people".

He has previously singled out CNN and the New York Times for criticism.

Recent reports claiming his campaign aides had contact with Russian intelligence officials have particularly irked the president.

Shortly after Mr Trump's speech on Friday, a number of selected media organisations were invited into Mr Spicer's office for an informal briefing, or "gaggle".

Those allowed into the room included ABC, Fox News, Breitbart News, Reuters and the Washington Times.

When asked why some were excluded, Mr Spicer said it was his decision to "expand the pool" of reporters.

He also warned the White House was going to "aggressively push back" at "false narratives" in the news.

Politico, Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail were also left out, but CNN was the only major US television network to be denied entry.

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Image caption CNN posted a response on Twitter

The Associated Press, USA Today and Time magazine refused to attend as a protest.

The BBC's bureau chief in Washington, Paul Danahar, said the BBC has a representative at every daily White House briefing and it was not clear why they were barred from Friday's session.

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said it was the first time such an exclusion had happened in the newspaper's history.

A White House spokeswoman said they had invited a group which included all journalists in the press pool, which shares information with other reporters

"We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that," Sarah Sanders said.

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Media captionWhere do Donald Trump supporters get their news from?

During the briefing, Mr Spicer addressed reports that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had asked the FBI to publicly dispute media stories about contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

He said Mr Priebus had little choice but to seek assistance in rejecting what Mr Spicer said were inaccurate reports. The FBI did not issue the statement requested.

Mr Trump has been dogged by claims of alleged links to Moscow since his presidential campaign.

The president asked for national security adviser Michael Flynn's resignation last week after he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia's ambassador during the transition.

The White House Correspondents' Association says it is "protesting strongly" about how the press briefing was handled by the White House.


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