International media firm, the Cable News Network (CNN) says it will be staying away from the White House Christmas party for the media following its ongoing feud with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The news network famously dubbed “Fake News” by Trump said freedom of press is being threatened in the U.S. by the president’s action.
“CNN will not be attending this year’s White House Christmas party,” a CNN spokesperson told Politico.
“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 gathering slated for 2 p.m. on Dec. 1, is usually an event where reporters can socialise with members of the White House administration. But ties between the Trump administration have been strained, particularly in recent days.
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.”
The president took to Twitter earlier in November to criticise the firm, 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 realised how bad, and FAKE, it is,” Trump wrote. “Loser!”
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 favourite President (me).
“They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”
CNN sources told Politico that Trump’s tweet slamming CNN International was deemed unsafe because of concerns that it endangered journalists operating out of areas or countries hostile to the media.
News of the Christmas party boycott, follows an opinion piece on the CNN’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.