In a crude, rinky- dink authoritarian gesture intended to intimidate, silence and delegitimatize media criticism of their ongoing shitshow, several news organizations were prohibited from a White (supremacist) House briefing today:
The New York Times and CNN, both of which have reported critically on the administration and are frequent targets of President Donald Trump, were prohibited from attending. The Huffington Post was also denied entry. [Ed.: as was the Los Angeles Times and Politico]
Both the Associated Press and Time magazine, which were allowed to enter, boycotted out of solidarity with those news organizations kept out.Just who, then, was invited?
The White House also invited journalists from conservative outlets such as Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One American News Network, sparking concerns that the administration was playing favorites with certain politically aligned outlets.This behavior on the part of the little Goebbels in the Press Office tells us that, as part of the "media is the opposition party" strategy of real President Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon, the goal is to delegitimatize those who eventually will be bringing to light the facts of neo- fascist Putin poodle Donald "Rump" Trump's treasonous ties to the Kremlin. It's the old Nixonian "modified limited hangout" strategy updated and pre- weaponized for today's foaming- at- the- mouth right wing media machine (see paragraph above).
A number of news organizations have responded to this strong arming tactic, as well as the White House Correspondents Association (which might see a lot of empty tables at its annual ethics challenged schmooze fest with the Stormtrumpers on April 29). Here's CNN's response:
CNN was blocked from WH @PressSec's media gaggle today. This is our response: pic.twitter.com/8SfY2uYKEI— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 24, 2017
As Masha Gessen pointed out in her prescient "Autocracy: Rules for Survival" back in November, this is straight out of the Putin playbook:
The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.They're following the script so far.
Note to media: If you’re still in the room, that means the WH approves of your tone and content. https://t.co/8neThbuR2X— Seth Masket (@smotus) February 24, 2017