Trump administration ramps up efforts to block media

Is Trump lacking "media literacy?"
Is Trump lacking "media literacy?"

President Donald Trump said Friday that his administration "can get around the media when the media doesn't tell the truth, so I like that."

The president was referring to his Twitter account. But recently he has taken steps to control news coverage.

The Trump administration has given preferential access to favorable outlets while excluding others -- a move critics say is dangerously reminiscent of state-controlled media.

In the latest incident, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson invited Fox News to cover his meeting at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, on the North-South Korea border, but denied access to the press pool that provides all media outlets with an account of the secretary's activities.

"Fox unilateral network team was allowed into this meeting -- pool asked for access and was blocked," wrote CNN's Pamela Boykoff, the author of Friday's pool report. "Local embassy official told the pool it was 'the Secretary's decision.'"

Tillerson was already being criticized for refusing to allow pool reporters to accompany him on his plane during the trip, which had been a standard practice for his predecessors at the State Department. Tillerson did allow a reporter from the conservative Independent Journal Review to accompany him, but not as a pool reporter.

That reporter, Erin McPike, has not filed any stories from the trip so far -- a source of consternation among other members of the media. A spokesman for IJR said McPike was with Tillerson to write a profile piece, not to write spot news stories about the trip.

"There was absolutely no agreement with State" to forgo daily writing or reporting, McPike told CNNMoney. "I am also not the pool reporter. I'm doing a longer piece." McPike also said she prizes objectivity and fairness: "I completely reject the state-run media charge" leveled by some observers.

On the domestic front, the administration has also given preferential access to favorable media outlets. Five of the seven in-person interviews Trump has given to the media since becoming president have gone to Fox News.

Last month, White House press secretary Sean Spicer blocked CNN, The New York Times, Politico and several other news outlets from attending an off-camera White House press briefing that other reporters were hand-picked to attend. When reporters from these news organizations tried to enter Spicer's office for the gaggle, they were told they could not attend because they were not on the list of attendees.

At Friday's joint press conference, one German reporter asked Trump, "Why are you scared of diversity in the news?"

Trump declined to answer that question.

--CNNMoney's Brian Stelter contributed to this report.


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