U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporters excluded from press briefing

Incident Details

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Journalists work in the briefing room at the White House on Feb. 24, 2017. Several major news organizations were excluded from an off camera "gaggle" meeting with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

— REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
February 24, 2017

Aides to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer barred 11 news outlets from attending an informal briefing known as a “gaggle” held in lieu of a daily press briefing on Feb. 24, 2017. When reporters tried to enter Spicer's office for the briefing, they were told that they were not on the list of attendees. The press pool was invited to attend along with several handpicked outlets.

CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Hill, the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News were excluded.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders claimed that the briefing had taken place in a smaller office and that the press pool had been invited. 

“We invited the pool so everyone was represented. We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that," she said.

The pool consisted of Hearst Newspapers and CBS. NBC, ABC, Fox News, One America News Network, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Breitbart, McClatchy and The Washington Times were also invited and attended.

Reporters from The Associated Press, Time and USA Today declined to attend. 

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].