Accuracy in Media

Deadline Hollywood’s website lost its objectivity in its reporting on the Trump press office’s decision earlier this week to bar a CNN reporter from a Rose Garden event.

Trump’s top communications officials – Bill Shine and Sarah Huckabee Sanders – told Collins she could not attend the event, at which President Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, announced a breakthrough in trade negotiations and suspension of tariffs. Shine and Sanders made clear other CNN reporters were welcome to cover the event, and Collins told them it didn’t matter she was excluded because she had not planned to be there anyway.

Shine and Sanders told Collins she was barred because, at an event to highlight the historic breakthroughs reached by Juncker, representing most of Europe, and Trump, Collins had shouted what the White House called “inappropriate questions” at Trump at an event earlier in the day.

“Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?” Collins 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? Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation?”

Trump ignored her shouts and continued with the event.

Many in the press took exception to Collins being banned, including  Fox News’ Bret Baier, who confused the right to write or say whatever they want about the president with the right, which doesn’t exist, to access to the president.

Deadline Hollywood was particularly outraged.

“Collins was hauled into the principal’s office, aka sat down in front of White House media wrangling chief/former Fox News bigwig Bill Shine,” it wrote. “Also in attendance was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when Collins was informed of her ‘disinvitation’ to the Rose Garden clambake with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“No, Collins did not ask him to prove he was born in this country by producing his long-form birth certificate, which would be an outrageous thing to do, even if he is orange.”

Later, it argued that behavior tolerated previously should continue to be tolerated. It reported the White House “insists Collins was banned for ‘shouting questions’ and declining to leave immediately ‘despite being repeatedly asked to do so.’

“That’s really rich, given that it is an accurate description of what many reporters typically do at these softball photo ops, as anyone who has been w`atching coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency well knows. That’s because Trump is too chicken to hold traditional news conferences and these exercises in photo op-ery often are White House correspondents’ only chance to ask questions of the president of the United States.”

After recounting Baier’s support and that of Fox News executives, it said, “The White House Correspondents Association also blasted the censorship, saying ‘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.”

The White House is asked questions it doesn’t like every day by multiple members of the media. Not all got thrown out. This also has nothing to do with censorship. Collins and anyone else at CNN was free to write or say whatever they want about this.

The story also did not mention that such practices were not uncommon in the Obama era. In October 2009, the Obama administration attempted to keep Fox News from interviewing Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury Department’s “executive pay czar.”

The administration said “There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing.”

But later, Judicial Watch uncovered documents and emails showing the administration not only sought to exclude Fox News from the Treasury event – “we’d prefer if you skip Fox please,” the Treasury Department’s top public affairs person wrote – but systematically tried to limit its access.

“We’ve demonstrated our willingness and ability to exclude Fox News from significant interviews,” then-White House press secretary Josh Earnest wrote in one email Judicial Watch uncovered.

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