The White House rejected the idea that there was anything untoward about the Justice Department's decision to hold off-the-record briefings about media policy.
Many media outlets, including the New York Times, Associated Press, NBC News and The Huffington Post, refused to attend the meetings with Attorney General Eric Holder because they would not be allowed to share anything that was discussed during the sessions. Several other outlets, such as Politico, Bloomberg and the Washington Post, did meet with Holder.
On Thursday, deputy White House spokesperson Josh Earnest was asked if he thought it was hypocritical for the Justice Department to keep such meetings under lock and key.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest, during a press gaggle on Air Force One on Thursday, was asked whether he thought the meetings' preconditions were "hypocritical," in light of the First Amendment issues due to be addressed.
"No, I don't actually see that," he said, according to CBS News, which refused to attend the Holder meeting.
"It's not uncommon for the Department of Justice, and, frankly, other administration agencies, to consult with stakeholders...as we're conducting policy reviews and making policy decisions," he said, adding, "And there's no reason that the Attorney General shouldn't be able to engage in a constructive discussion with journalists about this."