CNN is being iced out by the White House.
The Trump administration has reportedly refused to send any surrogates or spokespeople to appear on the network, ultimately freezing it out from on-air administration opinions, Politico reported. The news network has been embroiled in a bitter public feud with President Donald Trump and things have seemingly reached a fever pitch.
“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” said a White House official, adding that CNN is not such a place. The official noted, however, that the ban would only be temporary.
A CNN reporter has since spoken out against the White House’s injunction, asserting that the Trump administration was trying to punish the network and tank its ratings.
“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter told Politico.
The White House is still taking questions from network reporters, but Trump administration officials like Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on a single CNN program since early January. Spicer acknowledged that he’s answered questions from CNN reporter’s during daily briefings at the White House but said he refused to “sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”
The discord between Trump and the news network began earlier this year after the president-elect refused to take a question from CNN senior reporter Jim Acosta following the network’s decision to cover an unsubstantiated report alleging that Russia had damaging information on Trump. The president has since blasted the news network time and time again, deeming their content “fake news.”
“You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King last week when someone said I took [his] statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news from these people,” Trump said about CNN during an offputting salute to Black History Month at the White House on Wednesday, Feb. 1. “I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.”
The Trump administration’s efforts to freeze out the network also could be related to program ratings, as CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter reported that a close White House aide had warned him that his ratings would suffer if he did not have any administration voices on his show, according to Politico. Yet still, Stelter asserted that his ratings have been their highest since the November election, topping 1.3 million viewers.
“Before airtime, a Trumpworld aide predicted to me that the ratings for the programs would be hurt because no Trump administration officials had agreed to be interviewed,” Stelter wrote in a newsletter. “I think it’s worth noting that the aide’s prediction was wrong.”
There’s no word on when the White House will end its injunction against the network.