At President Trump's joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, he only took two questions from members of American media.
The first question went to The Christian Broadcasting Network, which states its mission "is to prepare the United States of America and the nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ"; the second to Townhall.com, a website whose mission is to "amplify" conservative voices — particularly conservative talk radio.
Neither outlet asked about reports of contact between the Trump camp and Russian intelligence agents or the recent resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Jim Acosta of CNN, which Trump has repeatedly labeled as "fake news," was not called on but asked a question about Russia, which Trump ignored.
I tried— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 15, 2017
Trump's selection of conservative media over mainstream news outlets is in line with the favoritism he has shown at previous press conferences, but a departure from past presidents. Typically, the wire service the Associated Press was called on first, followed by major news organizations.
While Press Secretary Sean Spicer has called on some mainstream news outlets — including USA TODAY, Reuters and ABC News — the New York Times and others have noted that he has also called much more frequently on right-leaning media, such as Breitbart, the Washington Times and The Daily Mail (which Wikipedia recently banned as a source).
Journalists have noted that such cherry-picking has allowed Trump and Spicer to avoid questions about difficult topics.
Calling on only conservative press who refuse to press @realDonaldTrump about his Russia connections is not freedom of the press.— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiPrzybyla) February 15, 2017
Trump has called on ONLY conservative outlets in his last 3 joint press conferences.— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) February 15, 2017
Trump is afraid of the real media. Is creating Potemkin Press conferences. Real questions will not be tolerated. Betrayal of public trust— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 15, 2017
Wow. Team Trump is not playing around. Very intentional effort to have conservative-leaning outlets ask questions at news conferences.— Perry Bacon Jr. (@perrybaconjr) February 15, 2017
Trump ducking questions from big media outlets to avoid discussing Russia, calls on conservative outlets only so far— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) February 15, 2017
So apparently Donald Trump won't be taking *any* questions from media outlets that aren't markedly conservative.— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) February 15, 2017
Remarkable how the conservative media Qs to Trump are shaped to make no real news— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 15, 2017
To be clear to viewers around the world, in the last 3 press conferences, Trump has ONLY called on conservative news outlets for questions— Katty Kay (@KattyKayBBC) February 15, 2017
Trump fields a pair of questions from conservative-leaning US outlets. Nothing yet on contact between his campaign and Russia— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) February 15, 2017
Trump again handpicks reporters--from Christian Broadcasting & a conservative website--so that no one asks him any tough questions on Russia— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) February 15, 2017
So -- the two reporters called on today: Christian Broadcasting Network and Town Hall. No question on Trump/Russia contacts.— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) February 15, 2017
(© 2017 KGW)