Well, it's official...according to a note from Politico, the White House has confirmed that surrogates of the Trump administration will no longer appear on CNN and will instead go to "places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda."
“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” said a White House official, acknowledging that CNN is not such a place, but adding that the ban is not permanent.
A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings.
“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter said.
Of course, this development should come as little surprise to anyone who has been paying attention given that Trump has constantly blasted CNN as a "Fake News" outlet ever since his heated exchange with Jim Acosta at a press conference on January 11th.
.@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
We had a great News Conference at Trump Tower today. A couple of FAKE NEWS organizations were there but the people truly get what's going on— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
In fact, since that fateful January 11th tussle, Trump's surrogates, including Conway, Spicer, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and even Vice President Mike Pence, have made the rounds on the major Sunday political talk shows, with the notable exception of CNN’s “State of the Union" hosted by Jake Tapper. Tapper noted the absence this past weekend:
"We invited the Trump White House to offer us a guest to provide clarity and an explanation of what the president just did, especially given so much confusion, even within its own government by those who are supposed to carry out this order,” Tapper said on Sunday as he introduced a segment about the Executive Order banning visitors from some countries and putting a hold on the United States’ refugee policy. "The Trump White House declined our invitation.”
But while the Trump administration has refused to send surrogates on CNN talk shows, Spicer has confirmed that the "Fake News" outlet won't be frozen out of press briefings. Speaking at an event at George Washington University on Monday, Spicer pointed out that he’s answered CNN’s questions in the regular daily briefings but also noted that he's "not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right."
Of course, Trump's stance toward CNN is not terribly different from how the Obama administration handled Fox News. That said, somehow we suspect the mainstream media will be slightly more outraged over Trump's treatment of CNN than they were over Obama's hostility toward Fox News over the years.