CNN media reporter Brian Stelter said Friday that outlets like CNN and the New York Times never show favor for any president during a segment about the Trump administration's decision to block some news organizations from an off-camera press briefing.
CNN, the New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Politico were among the outlets not allowed into Friday's gaggle, while admission was granted to NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, and conservative news outlets like One America News, Breitbart, and the Washington Times. The Associated Press and Time reportedly boycotted the gaggle in protest.
Stelter said the Trump administration has been "stacking the deck" with friendly news outlets, referring to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's habit of calling on right-leaning groups at briefings.
"We don't see CNN or the New York Times rooting for any president, whether a Democrat or a Republican," Stelter said. "But the Breitbarts of the world, they do root for candidates and root for presidents. There's not anything necessarily wrong with that. It's a point-of-view form of journalism."
While CNN and the New York Times do not purport to have a point of view, they are routinely criticized for left-leaning reporting. Just last week, CNN took criticism for tweeting out a video mocking Trump's hand gestures during a news conference. The network is a routine target of Trump's tirades against "fake news."
Political contributions by journalists in 2016 overwhelmingly skewed toward Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump.
Stelter said, regardless of bias perceptions, White Houses of both parties understand why major news outlets are given access.
"You talk about the New York Times and the CNNs of the world," Stelter said. "You might think they're biased. You might think they're not fair. But they're among the biggest news outlets in the country, and that's why all administrations … would allow that kind of access to the big news outlets that cover every White House."
Stelter defended his stance, tweeting after his segment that the newsrooms he mentioned "represent all sides."
That was me talking. Yes — there's a big difference — between newsrooms that represent all sides & media outlets that have a point of view https://t.co/tgPHmRyfzi
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 24, 2017