White House Reporters Hammer Trump For Banning Reporters From Dinner with Kim Jong Un


White House reporters are up in arms over the Trump administration’s decision to ban four reporters from a photo op between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, after it attempted to ban all reporters from the event.

On Wednesday night in Hanoi, Wall Street Journal print pool reporter Vivian Salama reported that “Sarah Sanders informed us that no print reporters would be allowed in [the Kim/Trump dinner] due to sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays,” leaving open the impression that it was the North Korean dictator’s objection.

“But when our photo colleagues joined us in protest, they decided to allow one print reporter in,” Salama added.

Sanders released another statement shortly thereafter, again implying that the restrictions were the subject of “negotiations” of some sort (pool report via email from The White House):

“Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, tv, radio and print Poolers are all in the room. We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the U.S. media has as much access as possible.”

But outraged White House reporters were quick to point out that the reporters in question — AP’s Jonathan Lemire, Reuters’ Jeff MasonBloomberg‘s Justin Sink, and the Los Angeles Times‘ Eli Stokols — were banned after two of them shouted questions at Trump, not Kim, and that they were banned by the Trump White House:

Some White House reporters noted that Trump seemed to want to have it both ways by banning all reporters (as they initially tried to do) while allowing photojournalists to lovingly photograph the event:

Others blasted the decision to ban reporters, and praised the solidarity demonstrated by the photographers:

Indeed, during the Obama administration, then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs famously fought to keep reporters inside events in foreign countries, rather than banning them.

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