On Friday morning, President Donald Trump stood before a rapt ballroom of ultra-conservative activists and bragged that, when it comes to the First Amendment, "nobody loves it better than me."
"I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me," Pres. Trump on the right to "criticize fake news" https://t.co/S8AtrHDxON pic.twitter.com/QyAtlHuWdm
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 24, 2017
Just hours later, however, reporters from some of the most highly regarded news organizations in the world, including The New York Times and the BBC, were blocked from an off-camera press briefing with White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Who was allowed in? Hyper-conservative and alt-right outlets like Breitbart News, One America News Network, and the Washington Times, as well as television networks ABC and NBC.
Once inside, the lucky (?) few allowed in were reportedly told the Trump White House "is more accessible than probably any prior administration."
Of course, White House media gaggles, and their press secretary master of ceremonies have often been criticized as a meaningless show which is no substitute for serious political journalism. Perhaps then, for those outlets left standing outside the briefing room like Dickensian orphans in the cold, this unprecedented move by the Trump administration could prompt them to reject the made-for-TV antics of Spicer and company, and wholly commit to something more substantive.