The media has a lot of special slang that only it uses in specific contexts. Today, we all get to learn what the word “gaggle” means to the media, as the report came out that CNN and several other outlets were not allowed into a media “gaggle” with Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
A “gaggle” is an off-camera meeting between reporters and White House or administration officials. This is not the same as a “press briefing” that we see on the news on a near-daily basis. This is a more informal meeting – but one that reporters still take quite seriously. Back in 2009, the Obama White House attempted to exclude Fox News from a “gaggle” involving the Treasury Department. At the time, the major networks stood up for Fox News and insisted that, per their pool agreements, Fox News should be allowed in. The Obama White House continued to have an antagonistic relationship with Fox News for the rest of the administration.