How Did White House Press Briefings Go From Daily to Done?
Brain. GRAINSTUFF Lauren Bogle bomb here in January of Twenty Twenty bestselling novelist Stephen King and Don winslow took to twitter to make a surprising pledge. They offered to donate two hundred thousand dollars to charity. If Stephanie Grisham the Press Secretary for President Donald Trump agreed to take questions from the full White House. Press Corps for one hour. You're in the White House. Press briefing room. The offer reportedly was rejected by Grisham. WHO's since taking the job in June of two thousand nineteen has yet to hold even one former former White House press briefing? Her views expressed an interview with these sinclair. Broadcast Group is that the briefings are unnecessary because reporters get opportunities to put questions to trump himself sometimes over the roar of the presidential helicopter on the White House lawn for the time being at least the trump administration has abandoned what had been in an important part of White House. Press Corps is routine dating back to the late eighteen hundreds before the official position of White House. Press Secretary even existed. That's when President William McKinley. Kenley set up a workspace in the White House for reporters and sent his first personal secretary. John Addison Porter to give the correspondence what the White House Historical Association notes. where I'm I more or less regular briefings? The White House press briefing gradually evolved into a formal event from the time of president. Herbert Hoover in the late nineteen twenties and early thirties. He's to Linden Johnson's tenure in the mid to late sixties White House press secretary's held twice a day briefing sessions in their own offices according to Martha Joint Kumar Book managing the president's message the White House Communications Operation Richard Nixon though no fan of the press still thought the briefings were important enough that he had a swimming pool torn out so that he could convert the space into a meeting room for briefings. That area is now known as the James S. Brady press briefing room in honor of president. Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was seriously wounded during the attempt. On Reagan's life in Nineteen eighty-one during Bill Clinton's time in the White House in the nineteen nineties. Press Secretary Mike. McCurry decided to allow the daily press briefings to be televised that practice continued until the trump white house began barring cameras from briefings in two thousand seventeen before discontinuing them altogether. Oh we spoke by email but former C. N. N. White House correspondent Dan Lowthian who spent five years covering the Bush and Obama administrations. He said I think the briefings were useful full for a number of reasons. First of all it was an opportunity to get the White House response or thinking on an issue on camera rather than a written statement it allowed us to gang up on them around a question they might have been trying to avoid showing them dodge. An answer is sometimes the news briefings also put statements on the record for later. Comparison finally finally every now and then there would be breaking news and as happened after Osama bin Laden was caught lots of great details even if some turned out not to be true. Lowthian Dan who went on to found little park media and to become a visiting scholar at the School of Journalism at Northeastern University recalls that the format for the briefings was fairly constant. He said there was a certain order to who got called on briefings always started with the Associated Press and ended with a thank you from the Associated Press once in a while the press secretary would mix it up a bit but it usually happened around the same time each day and questions from the first two rows came in order. We also spoke by email with Tom. Tom Jones a senior media writer for the POYNTER Institute. A journalism education organization. He said while it's true that the president and his representatives often make themselves available bowl in informal settings such as the White House lawn. It's not the same as press. Briefings the format of shouting out questions under the sound of a whirling helicopter is not conducive to asking complicated policy questions nor pertinent. Follow up questions. The frenzied free for all of these much too brief informal interviews make it much harder to get into the topics. What's that require nuance and specifics? It's so much easier for the president to brush aside or ignore questions. He doesn't like when he's walking along the White House grounds when he or one of his representatives representatives are standing behind a podium a controlled setting they must face the questions that require long substantive answers as opposed to the one or two short sentences that suffice in those informal formal settings let view essentially is shared by a group of thirteen former White House press secretary and Foreign Service and military officials who published an opinion in peace on. CNN's website in January of twenty twenty calling for trump to restore the regular briefings in their view. Having to prepare for briefings helps the government to run better letter. They wrote the sharing of information known. As official guidance among government officials and agencies helps ensure that an administration speaks with one voice telling one story however compelling it might be Lowthian also sees the apparent end the briefings as unfortunate. He said it's a valid criticism that some reporters others use briefings to showboat. However I think when covering the White House briefings aren't important function that allow the public and reporters to maintain daily connections? Sometimes it's routine information other times. An odd question from the back of the room can turn into the story of the day even so Lowthian says journalists who cover the the administration will find a way to get stories he said this new normal might be unfortunate but not paralyzing. Reporters are in the business of getting information whether it comes from the mouth of his spokesperson or sources all across the beltway.