White House Defends Decision To Bar CNN Reporter From Open Press Event

Sheri SchwartzJul 27, 2018

There's a lot of drama out of Washington today (and everyday, if we're honest) as the press and public alike reckon with the White House's unprecedented decision to ban a CNN reporter from covering an event open to all accredited press on Wednesday.

In the monologue, Smith said that after more than 20 years at Fox News he has never intentionally lied and that he considers journalists from outlets like CNN and the New York Times to be his peers.

The White House said it found Collins' questions inappropriate and that she had refused to leave when asked.

"First of all, just step back for a second and contemplate the notion that anybody associated with President Trump thinking that a reporter is rude".

Collins told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday afternoon that Shine (a former Fox News executive) and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had informed her she wasn't allowed to attend the presidential event because she asked "inappropriate" questions during a pool spray between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

In a video clip from the meeting, Collins can be heard asking the President, "Did Michael Cohen betray you?", "Do you worry about what Michael Cohen is going to say to prosecutors?", "Are you anxious about what is on the other tapes?", and "Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation?". Collins was the pool reporter, representing the TV networks during the Oval Office event.

Other journalists who were in the room disputed the White House account.

On Thursday, Shine didn't address the situation directly but quibbled with the use of the word "ban" in describing the action taken against Collins.

Banning a reporter because you don't like her questions is something dictators do.

Donald Trump has been at frequent loggerheads with CNN since taking office, but their feud has become increasingly bitter as the channel's acerbic White House coverage fuels a boom in viewers.

Journalists and free press advocates responded to the obvious disconnect in the White House's statement.

CBS News' Steven Portnoy, who was serving as the radio network pool reporter for the day, said Collins "was no less willing to leave" the office than "any other member of the larger-than-usual press contingent".

"Civility", Smith said. "CNN maintains, the Correspondence Association agrees, and we at Fox News observe that Collins was civil, that she asked relevant and timely questions of a president who often answers questions under identical circumstances and in the same setting".

Fox News anchor Shep Smith delivered a devastating rebuke to his former boss, Bill Shine, on Thursday. This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press.

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