Cameras remained off today at the White House press briefing on orders of the Trump administration. The last on-camera briefing was on June 29.
Following rules set by the White House, news networks began airing press secretary Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session only after it was done. With still pictures of Spicer on screen as he talked off-camera, it did not make for gripping television. Fox News Channel and MSNBC both broke away to other stories before the session was finished.
ABC News’s The Briefing Room started airing live today, with White House correspondents Jonathan Karl and Cecelia Vega providing analysis of Spicer’s session. The network has streamed past briefings on-line and on Facebook over the past several months; the new programme is expected to air each day there is a White House briefing.
ABC is looking for different ways to take advantage of its expertise, Rick Klein, the network’s political director, said. He said ABC, like other television networks, is pushing for the briefings to go back on camera and be shown live.
It is a sentiment most prominently expressed by CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who last month repeatedly asked Spicer, “Why don’t we turn the cameras on, Sean?” without getting an answer.
Acosta, on air, has complained about the Trump administration “taking us into a strange new world where accountability doesn’t exist”.
News executives and White House correspondents have yet to find a strategy to change the way things are going. Trump has given only one free-wheeling news conference since taking office nearly six months ago, and has lately restricted most of his interviews to friendly outfits like Fox News Channel.
No one has defied White House rules by airing the briefings live. AP