Reporters Want to Boycott White House Press Briefings

And more on the changes coming to the communications department
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 12:32 PM CDT
White House press secretary Sean Spicer calls on a reporter during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 12, 2017.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – CNN's Jim Acosta went on a rant Monday accusing the White House of "stonewalling the news media," and the Daily Beast says he's not the only reporter who's ticked at how the White House handles the press. Monday was the second time in recent days that reporters were not allowed to broadcast live video or audio, and the president's communications team has made other moves that have irked reporters—not least of which is the fact that the number of briefings and the length of those briefings have been going down. Another White House correspondent who spoke to the Daily Beast said if he can't utilize video, he may as well skip the briefing and "rely on email to get answers." And some reporters are dealing with the restrictions by ignoring them and still using recorders.

  • The Daily Beast describes it as a potential press "mutiny." But Olivia Nuzzi, another Washington correspondent, thinks a boycott is the wrong idea. The real answer is to "highlight, as often as possible, how ridiculous and abnormal this is becoming," she says.
  • So just what went on at Monday's off-camera briefing? Since it was impossible to watch or listen to the briefing unless you were actually in the room, the Washington Post offers up "the next best thing—an annotated transcript of the session."
  • The Atlantic says the White House press briefing "is slowly dying." Asked about why briefings are being held off-camera, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon texted, "Sean got fatter." (Which earned Bannon a reprimand for "fat-shaming" from Chelsea Clinton.)
  • Mother Jones went so far as to put together a 90-second "in memoriam" reel for Spicer's briefings and how they will be remembered.
  • It's long been reported that President Trump is looking to shake up his communications team; Bloomberg and Politico have more on what's coming, specifically the search for Spicer's replacement.
  • And Fox News has this statement from the White House on Spicer's role: "We have sought input from many people as we look to expand our communications operation. As he did in the beginning, Sean Spicer is managing both the communications and press office." He will no longer be dealing with press briefings and other day-to-day media duties, and will instead be promoted to an as-yet-untitled position "oversee[ing] communications for the entire administration."
  • Yes, it's technically a promotion, but it's also a much less visible position, leading Vox to wonder if "this is the real end" for Spicer.
  • Asked about all this at Tuesday's press conference, Spicer said, "I'm still here," with a smile. But he added that the communications team is always looking for ways to improve, and "when there's an announcement of a personal nature, we'll let you know." See the video here.
(Read more Sean Spicer stories.)

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