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The Guardians of Democracy

The Guardians of Democracy

WH Correspondents’ Association Denounces White House For Banning CNN Reporter: ‘It Cannot Stand’


WH Correspondents’ Association Denounces White House For Banning CNN Reporter: ‘It Cannot Stand’

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) released a statement slamming the White House for banning a CNN reporter from a press event for asking President Trump questions it didn’t like, calling the move “wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak,” and declaring that “it cannot stand.”

“We strongly condemn the White House’s misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like. This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak,” WHCA President Olivier Knox said in a statement.

“It cannot stand,” the statement continued. “Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the President, helps hold those people accountable. In our republic, the WHCA supports the prerogative of all reporters to do their jobs without fear of reprisal from the government.”

The association’s statement came shortly after CNN reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine barred CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending a Rose Garden press event.

Collins, who was acting as the “pool reporter” for all networks during Trump’s meeting with European Union (EU) commissioner Jean-Claude Junker on Wednesday afternoon, asked the president questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, according to CNN.

“They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'” Collins said of her meeting with Shine and Sanders. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.”

Collins said she reacted by saying, “You’re banning me from an event because you didn’t like the questions I asked.”

Collins said Shine and Sanders said that “we’re not banning your network. Your photographers can still come. Your producers can still come. But you are not invited to the Rose Garden today.”

CNN in a statement on Wednesday denounced the move as “not indicative of a free and open press.”

“Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked,” the network said. “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”

CNN notes that what “Collins described — telling a well-known and well-respected reporter that she can’t attend a presidential event — is another serious escalation against the press by the Trump administration.”

The network said that Collins was punished for asking Trump: “Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?” She repeated the question, then asked “Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?”

Sanders said in a statement that the White House told Collins another reporter from CNN was welcome to attend the event. Collins has not commented.

Bloomberg White House correspondent, Toluse Olorunnipa, accused Sarah Sanders of lying in her official White House statement: “@PressSec is continuing to malign @kaitlancollins with a false statement saying she “refused to leave” the Oval Office after a press event. I was there. I saw reporters doing their jobs and asking questions of the president, then leaving w/o incident.”

New York Times Investigative journalist Serge Kovaleski tweeted: “They are badly in need of democratic values over at the WH, like respecting a free press. Barring a @CNN reporter from an open media event is wretched and an act of acute insecurity and weakness on the part of @realDonaldTrump and @PressSec. Just shameful and unacceptable!”

New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker tweeted: “Outrageous of the White House to bar @CNN reporter @kaitlancollins from an open press event because it did not like her questions. A strong leader does not fear questions. A strong democracy does not shield its leader from those who question authority.”

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle tweeted: “Brave women at @FoxNews stood up to bullies,harassers & mgmt that fostered those abuses.
Today-In one of his 1st moves at the @WhiteHouse,fired Fox pres Bill Shine bullied a female journalist doing her job
If you can’t teach an old dog new tricks-consider putting a cat in charge.”

CNN’s Hala Gorani tweeted:”I’ve reported from many countries where reporters are banned from press events for not asking softball questions and the last thing I expected was for it to happen in the United States.”

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs broke with his own network’s statement, said: “It’s about time there were consequences for disrespectful behavior.”


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