“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press,” Jay Wallace, the president of Fox News, said in a statement. He was echoed on-air by the network’s chief political anchor, Bret Baier, who took a moment in his nightly newscast to say Fox News “stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access.”
Ms. Sanders, the press secretary, said in a statement on Wednesday that Ms. Collins “shouted questions and refused to leave” the Oval Office event, “despite repeatedly being asked to do so.”
“Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event,” Ms. Sanders wrote, adding that other CNN journalists were welcome to attend. She added: “To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”
That explanation failed to placate other journalists, some of whom condemned the actions of the White House as akin to authoritarianism. The White House Correspondents’ Association issued a notably sharp statement, calling the action “wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak.”
“It cannot stand,” the association’s president, Olivier Knox of SiriusXM Radio, wrote. “Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the president, helps hold those people accountable.”
The White House’s treatment of CNN on Wednesday — and the subsequent outcry from rival networks — echoed an incident in 2009 when the Obama administration tried to exclude Fox News reporters from official events after expressing anger over the network’s coverage.
At the time, other news organizations protested, refusing to attend a Treasury Department event if Fox News was not granted access, too.