CNN's Jake Tapper opened "The Lead" with a scathing statement criticizing the Trump administration for banning certain members of the news media from a press gaggle Friday. He also cited White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's own words to condemn the actions of the White House he now represents.
"Let's not make any mistake about what's happening here," Tapper began.
A White House that has had some difficulty telling the truth and that has seemed to have trouble getting up to speed on the basic competent functioning of government, and a president who seems particularly averse to any criticism and has called the press the 'enemies of the American people,' they are taking the next step in attempting to avoid checks and balances and accountability.
It's not acceptable. In fact, it's petulant and indicative of a lack of basic understanding of how an adult White House functions. In fact, Sean Spicer in December seemed to completely understand this. He said the White House would not ban any media organization as the Trump campaign had. He said, 'we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government. That is something you can't ban an entity from - Conservative, Liberal or otherwise. I think that's what makes a Democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.'
"The Trump White House now led by Sean Spicer's White House operation in the communications division is now targeting multiple media organizations and it seems to think it can punish reporters for sharing with you facts they don't like," he continued, citing a video of President Trump from the CPAC convention Friday. "They offer rhetoric designed to mislead and confuse you about those issues, such as this from the president today."
We are fighting the fake news, it's fake, phony, fake. A few days ago I called the fake news "the enemy of the people" and they are, they are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources, they just make em up when there are none.
"It's just simply not true," Tapper added. "So don't misunderstand what's going on with that rhetoric, and with today's action banning various media outlets including CNN, the New York Times."
"This White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability," he concluded. "This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking. The word, is 'un-American.'"
This is just the latest episode of the continuing saga of Trump versus the media, and CNN in particular. Trump made the media the enemy of his presidential campaign very early on and used every occasion he could to discredit their reporting and undermine any criticism made against him. Certain members of the media in turn, agonized over whether to drop journalistic standards to thwart what they saw as an unprecedented threat from the then-candidate.
Since the election the rhetorical altercation has only worsened, with Trump attacking the media at every opportunity. CNN has been a favorite target after they reported on information supposedly damaging to Trump that was obtained by the Russians. Trump has denied the report vehemently, decried the reporting, and accused segments of the intelligence community of making partisan attacks through unlawful leaks to the press.