July 25, 2018

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:
statement from Sarah Sanders


CNN called the White House's action: "Another serious escalation against the press by the Trump administration." 

"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:

This is Tom Winter from NBC News:


From the Washington Post White House bureau chief:

April Ryan is the White House reporter for Urban Radio Networks and is a CNN analyst.

The White House Correspondents Association weighed in:

WHCA statement

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
Al Tompkins

More News

Back to News