US president Donald Trump’s relationship with the media has reached a new low with various news organisations banned from a White House press briefing.
The BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail were among those barred from the White House daily briefing on Friday as well as critical US news organisations CNN, Buzzfeed and the New York Times.
The move came after Trump told a US conference: “We are fighting the fake news, it’s fake news, fake. The fake news doesn’t tell the truth. It doesn’t represent the people. They have no sources, none.
“I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press, I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them. I am only against the fake news, media, and press. I’m against the people that make up stores and sources.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources that they don’t name. ‘A source said Donald Trump is a horrible human being’. Let him say that to my face. They should put the name of the person and then you’ll see stories dry up so fast.”
He said: “A few days ago, I called the fake news ‘the enemy of the people’, and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources. They just make them up where there are none.”
The White House instead invited a pool of news organisations which share their work with other press to the daily briefing.
Spokesman Sean Spicer invited several other outlets, including the right-wing Breitbart News website, whose former chairman is Mr Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told the Today programme: “The enemy of the people label is one that we certainly object to, the media is not the enemy of the American people or any people.
“The media is an important and critical part of American democracy and yes, it is damaging when the President of the United States downplays that or denigrates it, and it’s something that we object to and certainly disagree with.”
On Twitter, Mr Trump claimed that respected news outlets CNN and the New York Times were “FAKE NEWS”.
Meanwhile Trump’s favourite TV channel, Fox News, has prompted concern by airing the views of a “Swedish defence and national security adviser” who is apparently unknown in Sweden.
Nils Bildt linked immigration to social problems in Sweden, lamented what he described as Swedish liberal close-mindedness about the downsides of welcoming newcomers and said: “We are unable in Sweden to socially integrate these people,” arguing that politicians lacked a systematic plan to do so.”
Bildt told Dagens Nyheter on Friday that he was a US-based independent analyst, and Fox News had chosen its description of him.