Adding fuel to its growing feud with President Donald Trump, CNN told POLITICO it will be boycotting the White House Christmas party for the media this year.
“CNN will not be attending this year’s White House Christmas party,” a CNN spokesperson said. “In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.”
The annual event, scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m., is typically seen as a time when reporters and their bosses can mingle freely with administration members, but Trump’s posture toward the press has been uniquely aggressive.
Since Trump began his run for office, CNN has been one of his favorite targets. He has often criticized the network as “fake news” and alleged that the network makes up stories.
News of CNN’s plans to boycott the event was greeted positively by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “Christmas comes early,” she tweeted. “Finally good news from @CNN.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 29, 2017
Over the last two days, CNN has been regularly running segments about the tweet, focused on the value of their international reporting. And its much publicized new marketing slogan — “Facts first” — appears to be a direct response to the administration.
The offending Trump tweet sent Saturday read: “.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”
The president took to Twitter earlier in November to criticize CNN, saying he was “forced to watch” it while on an overseas trip to Asia, and the experience reminded him why he dislikes the channel so passionately.
“While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is,” Trump wrote. “Loser!”
While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
And on Monday, the president tweeted that CNN should be part of “a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”
News of the Christmas party boycott, follows an opinion piece on the cable news network’s website Sunday, in which writers Hossein Derakhshan and Claire Wardle called for scrapping the term “fake news.” Use of the phrase, the authors claimed, is “not only self-defeating, it oversimplifies a very complex problem,” and has since “become meaningless” during the past year.