WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement on reports that several news outlets were barred from a scheduled press briefing at the White House today.
“In the past few months, we have heard one White House official coin the phrase ‘alternative facts.’ Another official said that press should ‘keep its mouth shut.’ The President himself has gone after the press almost daily, on Twitter, in speeches, and – somewhat ironically – at press conferences, dismissing any outlets that run stories critical of his Administration as 'fake news.' And, today, several news outlets were barred from entering a White House press briefing.
“This is not acceptable. And it’s an affront to our democracy. Our founders enshrined freedom of the press for a reason. Thomas Jefferson said that our first objective as a nation should be to leave open ‘all avenues to truth,' and that the most effective way of doing that is through ‘the freedom of the press.’
“We need a commitment from this Administration that they will protect journalists and respect their role in our democracy. The American people deserve the truth, and our nation relies on journalists to keep digging for it.”
During his confirmation hearing, Klobuchar questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his commitment to defending freedom of the press and not to put reporters in jail for doing their job. He responded both in the hearing and to a written follow-up that he had not had time to review the issue.