Were US Press Orgs Banned from a White House Briefing? NO. Here’s Why.

Making the rounds today seems to be the idea that certain organizations of the press have been “barred” from attending a briefing at the White House. Here are a few sample headlines I saw today:

CNN and Other Media Outlets Blocked From White House Gaggle (Mediaite.com)
White House blocks news organizations from press briefing (CNN)
White House blocks CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing (The Independent, UK)
CNN, New York Times, other media barred from White House briefing (The Washington Post)
The White House Has Officially Blocked Some News Organizations From A Press Briefing (Bustle.com)

I want to make clear that I am not a Trump supporter. No portion of the Trump campaign appealed to me, and I was in a complete state of disbelief when the results came in from the general election, and still had a shred of hope it might not happen before the electoral college confirmed it. I’m still in a whirlwind of slow realization (a slow whirlwind? yes) that Trump’s presidency is actually real.

However, this story has been spun pretty much hardcore right from the beginning.

Could there, in fact, actually be a way to explain this, that isn’t outrageous?


1. According to this interview by CNN almost immediately after it happened, the reporter herself who was supposedly snubbed, described how the so-called blocking actually took place, quote:

We lined up. We were told there was a list ahead of time, which is sort-of abnormal, but we put our name on the list and when we went to enter, I was blocked by white house staffer who said we were not on the list for this gaggle today.

So, the press wasn’t banned from entering, necessarily, but just that by name the people prevented from entering weren’t on the list to enter. A greater context of the list hasn’t been presented in a clearer way that I’ve been able to tell, so basically all of the reports of being banned or barred are purely superficial interpretations about the nature of the list. Until we can get a better look at the list or the motive behind the list, then only we can just speculate before any reasonable conclusions could be drawn.

2. According to the Associated Press here, the limited pool was selected from people who distribute to the larger media pool.

Considering the entire audio of the briefing is available to listen to in its entirety, freely, (here), is a testament toward that fact — the smaller reporting pool did, in fact, report to the larger pool. The smaller pool was all that was necessary. The big whiners who didn’t get let in didn’t need to be in, because the distribution of the audio is plainly available to everyone, so whether the people who stamp their feet in for not getting in doesn’t matter because the pool that did get in did what it was supposed to do.

3. Only at the very last second, seemingly when people are shuffling around and getting up to leave, a woman asks whether the seeming selectivity of who could attend might be interpreted as favoritism, Sean Spicer (who is the White House Press Secretary, who held the briefing), made a joke saying, “You’re my favorite,” in the middle of the question, and the people in the room laughed at it. The question itself wasn’t scathing, and the mood seemed out of curiosity and not harshly accusatory, unlike how all of the articles about the slight were interpreted well after the fact.

4. There is a *great* interview conducted by CNN (here) with Ari Fleisher, who was the press secretary for George Jr back in the day. Ari essentially says No, no, you’re blowing this all way out of proportion, and that past white-houses had done this kind of thing all the time.

Master List of America First Country Response Videos

On January 23, 2017, in light of Trump’s US presidential inauguration, a comedy news-satire show (think The Daily Show in the US) in the Netherlands called Zondag met Lubach created a satire clip that introduced Trump to their country. Several other countries have also followed with their own version. This master-list attempts to collect all of those country-introduction videos onto a single page =) All of these are understood to be parody, and not “official” of any kind. Also included are amateur versions, so quality may vary greatly.

The original:

The Netherlands Welcomes Trump in his own words:

The others (all YouTube links if possible, and in no particular order):
Italy Second – Reaction to Trump’s America First
America First, Australia Second/ Australia Welcomes Trump In His Own Words (Official)
Sweden Welcomes Trump In His Own Words – America First, Sweden Second [Un-Official]
America First, New Zealand Second
America First, Nigeria Second / Nigeria presents itself to Donald Trump as second priority
America First … but what about Iran? #everysecondcounts
America first, Czech Republic FIFTY FIRST! (official)
Croatia Second (official) – ŠarićMarekovićTomacProduction
Morocco Second (Official)
America first, BOSNIA second #EverySecondCounts
Luxembourg Second (Official) | Studio Ben
China welcomes Trump in his own words. #everysecondcounts
America first, MACEDONIA second – #EverySecondCounts
America first, PAKISTAN third #EverySecondCounts
America first… Slovenia second (OFFICIAL)
America first – Austria second official (mit Untertitel) Willkommen Österreich
KAZAKHSTAN SECOND (official) America First | Response to the Netherlands
Lithuania welcomes Trump | Laikykitės ten su Andriumi Tapinu
Spain Second (Official)
4Litro – America first Madeira island second
Germany second | NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE mit Jan Böhmermann – ZDFneo
Switzerland Second (official) | DEVILLE LATE-NIGHT #everysecondcounts
Denmark second | Denmark Trumps The Netherlands at being no. 2
Portugal Second – 5 Para a Meia-Noite – RTP
Belgium welcomes Trump in his own words
Bulgaria second (Official) | България втора Gospodari.com
America first Fryslân second
America first , Slovakia second
America First & Romania Second or at Least Top 100 Please (OFFICIAL)
America First, Singapore Second (Official) – Welcoming Trump In His Own Words
America First /NAMIBIA FIRST (NOT SECOND) | Response to the Netherlands Trump welcome video
America First, India Second, Response to Netherlands video #Everysecondcounts #AmericaFirst
America first, North Korea second
America First, Ireland Second.
Israel Second (Official) | Israel Trumps Europe at being no. 2
America First, Iceland Second
America first, Mexico Second #EverySecondCounts (Oficial)
America First, AZORES Second…
Ostfriesland Second (official) – America First Comedy

America First, Mordor Second
America first, Mars second! (EverySecondCounts)
America First, Hogwarts Second!
America First – Muslim World Second
America first – Bremen second // Bremen NEXT
Baden-Württemberg SECOND / AMERICA first (Parodie)
America First – Bavaria Second!
Make Kampen Greater – America & Kampen first (not second)
Cologne Second (Official) / Immisitzung
America First – Swabia Second! (?) 😉
Zürcher Oberland Second (official) – America First Comedy

Did I miss any? Please post in comments, and I’ll add it to the list. Also, if you can find a “more official” post than the video posted above (in case the one posted is a copy-cat), please share the actual original post for it =)