ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd accused President Donald Trump Tuesday of "shutting down" part of the First Amendment because of his pattern of calling on conservative media outlets at White House news conferences.
Trump has held three news conferences in the last week alone as he welcomed three different world leaders to the White House: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The president took two questions from American media at each of those three events, the majority being conservative outlets.
During Trump's joint news conference Friday with Japans's Abe, he called on reporters from the New York Post and Fox Business Network, both of which are owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch. In his second joint press conference Monday with Canada's Trudeau, Trump answered questions from WJLA-TV, the local ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., and the Daily Caller. Then, during his appearance Wednesday with Netanyahu, Trump called on the Christian Broadcast Network and Townhall.com.
WJLA-TV is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, the company with which President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, struck a deal during the campaign that gave Sinclair stations, many of which were in swing states, more access to then-President-elect Trump, Politico reported.
Trump's decision to force mainstream media outlets to take a back seat caused a number of reporters and analysts at CNN, MSNBC and the three broadcast networks to voice their frustrations on air.
"I think there's no other way to describe it but the fix is in," CNN's Jim Acosta said Wednesday, Hot Air reported. "This White House, this president does not want to answer questions, critical questions about his associates, his aids' contacts with the Russians during the course of that campaign just as his national security adviser is being run out of this White House on a rail."
"They may think that this is being cute or they may think that this is strategic in terms of trying to shield the president from questions, but those questions can only be shielded for so long," Acosta added.
Acosta was referring to the New York Times report that members of Trump's campaign were in frequent contact with the Russian government. Namely, a Washington Post report revealed that Gen. Michael Flynn, who Trump named as his national security adviser, had called the Russian ambassador to the U.S. multiple times, which Flynn then lied about to Vice President Mike Pence, a move that ultimately led to Flynn's resignation.
Acosta wasn't the only one who took issue with Trump's selection of media outlets, though. Dowd told the ABC's George Stephanopolous that by not calling on mainstream media outlets, Trump was "shutting down" part of the First Amendment.
Noting the "strategy" behind Trump not calling on mainstream media reporters, Stephanopolous said the White House "probably [doesn't] mind the fact that the mainstream press is shouting about it," referring to reporters shouting their questions at Trump he left the room after Thursday's joint news conference with Israel's Netanyahu.
"But how long can that last?" Stephanopolous asked.
Dowd said he was "struck" by Trump only calling on conservative outlets.
"This is two democracies, two important democracies in the world. And basically, the president of the United States is shutting down part of the First Amendment by not taking questions that are in any way antagonistic in this," Dowd said.
“I think he thinks relying on his Twitter feed, and sending it out to the millions of people that subscribe to it, and then dealing with very cozy press in this is going to be the way to get through this," Dowd added.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 15, 2017
(H/T: Daily Caller)