Alumna Chizobam Nwagwu ’18 (neuroscience/policy studies) is currently serving in the inaugural cohort of U.S. Digital Corps (USDC) Fellows. The U.S. Digital Corps launched last year to recruit early-career technologists to work on priority projects in five skill tracks: software…
Barring of White House Reporter Another “Slight on Institutional Press,” Says Director of Tully Center for Free Speech
Roy Gutterman, Director for Tully Center for Free Speech and communications professor at the Newhouse School offers his thoughts on the Kaitlan Collins story. Collins is the CNN White House reporter who was barred from a press briefing, reportedly due to questions she posed.
“The White House’s barring a CNN reporter from a press event, for which she was representing the press pool, is another slight on the institutional press,” said Gutterman. “This follows other examples of staffers refusing another reporter’s questions at a press conference. And that is on top of the never-ending attempts to categorize stories the administration does not like as “fake news.” We have seen these attacks on the press for almost two years now, even before Trump took office.”
Gutterman continues that “these constant attacks are attempts to undercut the Fourth Estate and the institutional press and to whittle away at the First Amendment. It is interesting that these renewed fake news cat calls and other attacks on members of the press seem to correlate to times when the overall news coverage of the White House is critical.”
Gutterman also said it is not up to the White House to determine which questions are inappropriate. “If someone does not want to answer a reporter’s question, then nothing can compel that official to answer a question. But to seek punitive or exclusionary measures against individual reporters smacks of dictatorial tactics. These examples continue to make it difficult for the United States to continue to stand out as a model for free press rights. Then again, members of the media know they have to have thick skin.”