CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins was the "press pool" TV reporter at a Wednesday Oval Office photo opportunity. Apparently, she asked too many questions and got punished for it.
Pool reporters and photographers turn over whatever they gather to all of the other media outlets; they "pool" whatever they get. Pool journalists commonly lob questions to the president, who can answer or ignore. It is an everyday practice that has gone on for decades.
During the event, Collins posed some questions about the two big topics of the day: Vladimir Putin and Michael Cohen. She asked:
"Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?"
"Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you?"
"Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors?"
"Are you worried about what is on other tapes, Mr. President?"
"Why is Valdimir Putin not accepting your invitation?"
Trump didn't respond.
Later, the White House called an open press event with the president and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission. The entire White House press corp was invited— everyone but Kaitlan Collins. She was told to come see Bill Shine and Sarah Sanders, the new White House chief of staff for communications and the White House press secretary. Shine, you will recall, just joined the White House after working at FOX News.
Collins quoted the duo as telling her, "They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting." She quoted Sanders as saying, "We're not banning your network. Your photographers can still come. Your producers can still come. But you are not invited to the Rose Garden today."
Sarah Sanders released a statement:
CNN called the White House's action: "Another serious escalation against the press by the Trump administration."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 25, 2018
"We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press," FOX News president Jay Wallace said. FOX News' Bret Baier was among the journalists who posted support for his CNN colleague:
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) July 25, 2018
This is Tom Winter from NBC News:
We compete against CNN and we want to win by having the best reporting.
But not like this. It is dead wrong what the White House did to CNN by excluding them from an event because they didn't like questions on topics the President HIMSELF is tweeting about: https://t.co/FchVHTkkU7
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) July 25, 2018
White House Correspondents Assoc strongly condemns White House "misguided & inappropriate decision" to bar @CNN @KaintlinCollins from Rose Garden open event after she asked q's about Michael Cohen earlier as pool reporter for press corps
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) July 25, 2018
From the Washington Post White House bureau chief:
What @kaitlancollins did today — ask the president questions — is what every reputable journalist must do. That is our job. We do it just about every day, and most days Trump answers. Today, he decided to retaliate by barring Kaitlan from his press event.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 25, 2018
April Ryan is the White House reporter for Urban Radio Networks and is a CNN analyst.
The White House retaliated against @CNN by not letting the pool reporter in an event. Well it happened a day after the exclusive airing of that @MichaelCohen212 tape with @realDonaldTrump. @realDonaldTrump was sworn to uphold the constitution. Freedom of the press.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) July 25, 2018
The White House Correspondents Association weighed in: