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ABC News President: White House Access Must Be ‘Open, Transparent and Fair’

Variety logo Variety 3/1/2017 Ted Johnson
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The president of ABC News says that the network will protest if the White House operates in a way that is not “open, transparent, and fair,” after a petition called on its staffers to refuse to take part in press briefings if media organizations are excluded.

James Goldston said in a statement that they have “expressed our concerns to the White House that it operates in a way that’s open, transparent, and fair. And we will continue to stand with our colleagues who cover the White House and to protest when any government official fails to live up to those standards.”

According to the Associated Press, more than 230 former ABC News employees signed a petition calling on the network to “take a public stand” against the White House if efforts are made to restrict access. The petition, signed by such figures as Sam Donaldson and Lynn Sherr, was in response to an incident on Friday, when a number of news outlets were barred from a press “gaggle” given by White House spokesman Sean Spicer. Those denied access included CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politic, and BuzzFeed. ABC News’ Cecilia Vega did attend the gaggle and pressed Spicer on why other outlets were excluded.

The White House cited limited space in denying access, but the restriction came just hours after President Trump chided the media’s coverage of his administration in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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