Monday, 16 September 2019

Row over CNN reporter’s White House ban

WASHINGTON: A CNN reporter has been barred from a White House event for asking Donald Trump “inappropriate” questions.

Kaitlan Collins said she was excluded from a Rose Garden event after asking about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Trump’s ex-lawyer.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the reporter had shouted questions and refused to leave.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked CNN as “fake news” and has refused to take questions from CNN reporters.

Ms Collins attended a photo opportunity with Mr Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.

She was acting as the White House pool reporter – one of a rotating group of journalists, who will attend an event and write a report which all other networks can use.

This system allows networks to share the burden of covering the president.

Ms Collins said she had tried to ask Mr Trump questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s postponed visit and recently released tapes documenting a conversation with lawyer Michael Cohen.

The president reportedly ignored the questions. Shortly afterwards, Ms Collins was barred from a Rose Garden press event with Mr Trump and Mr Juncker.

“They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue,” Ms Collins told CNN.

Ms Sanders said a reporter, whom she does not name, has refused to leave after shouting questions, and “was not welcome to participate in the next event” – although colleagues from her network could do so.

In a video posted on Twitter by another reporter, Ms Collins can be heard asking questions along with other pool reporters.

CNN condemned the ban as “retaliatory” and “not indicative of an open and free press”. The White House Correspondents Association called it “wrongheaded, and weak”.

The president has publicly criticised a number of major media outlets, notably CNN and the New York Times.

On his visit to the UK, Mr Trump attacked an article in The Sun on the same grounds, although retracted his statement after speaking to a reporter from the paper.

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