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President Donald Trump’s White House and CNN got into a bit of a squabble on Wednesday after the decision was made to bar a certain CNN correspondent from attending a press conference set to take place that afternoon in the Rose Garden.
CNN predictably pitched a self-righteous fit and was joined in their anti-Trump tantrum by the other major mainstream media outlets, which somewhat surprisingly included the Fox News Channel.
The CNN correspondent was Kaitlan Collins, who was serving as the pool reporter for the major network on Wednesday and drew the ire of the White House Communications Office after she shouted a series of “inappropriate” questions at the president during a brief photo-op event in the Oval Office Wednesday morning, according to Fox News.
Trump was hosting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss a major trade deal between the United States and European Union that would see a reduction in tariffs and increase in free trade, but Collins had other issues on her mind when she began to shout her questions as reporters were asked to leave.
Rather than ask about the trade deal or tariffs, Collins repeatedly asked about the leaked conversation between Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen and if Trump thought Cohen had betrayed him, along with questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Collins was later informed that she would not be allowed to attend the joint news conference in the Rose Garden with Trump and Juncker, though it was made clear that her network’s cameras, producers and another correspondent were still invited to attend — but CNN pitched a fit anyway and issued a sanctimonious statement with regard to the incident.
That statement declined to note how Collins had been shouting her questions repeatedly, even after being asked to leave along with other members of the media, and declared, “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”
Incredibly, Fox News President Jay Wallace issued a brief statement expressing the network’s support for CNN, and said, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”
That statement was echoed by Fox’s chief political anchor Bret Baier on his “Special Report” program, during which he read CNN’s statement in all seriousness and proclaimed, “As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access.”
The only problem is, CNN itself was never denied “access” to the White House or a specific event, only the one correspondent who had rudely interjected her shouted off-topic questions during the earlier Oval Office photo-op event, where such behavior is generally frowned upon.
The New York Post noted that the statement from Fox seemed especially biting considering that the new White House Communications Director is none other than Bill Shine, formerly a long-time top executive at the Fox network.
The Post also reported that, according to Collins’ account of the matter, she was pulled aside and “scolded” by Shine following the Oval Office incident, at which point she was informed that she would not be allowed to attend the subsequent joint press conference in the Rose Garden, though her network was still invited to attend.
While we totally get that Fox News feels a need to stand up in defense of the First Amendment and feels compelled to support their journalistic colleagues, that is not what this incident was about at all.
In truth, this is nothing more than a rude reporter being barred from a single event in response to her “inappropriate” behavior earlier in the day, not an attack on the First Amendment, a free press or even the CNN network as a whole.
Furthermore, it is a fair assumption to conclude that a vast majority of Fox viewers aren’t particularly fond of CNN, and most likely don’t appreciate seeing their favored media outlet essentially betray them and the president they support to align themselves with a sanctimonious anti-Trump “fake news” network like CNN.
This was probably not the smartest decision ever made by Fox, and while some viewers will no doubt be angered over it, the outrage will eventually pass and Fox will likely continue to provide fair and balanced coverage of the Trump administration while the other networks continue to sink in the deep end of the pool of their incessant anti-Trump hatred.