I get why a TV person wants on-camera briefings. He does TV.
And there is some reason to want these things televised. It gives Americans a chance to see the White House taking questions and being held to account. And the presence of cameras does inspire reporters to get more aggressive.
CNN’s Jim Acosta is hopping mad. Like, I think he was actually hopping.
On the other hand, TV does inspire lots of reporters, both TV and otherwise, to preen for the cameras and ask questions whose main function is to hear themselves talk and to get on TV. And if White House reporters need a camera to inspire them to push the White House for answers, then that’s a problem, and they’re not doing their job.
And I’ve noticed over the years that when the cameras are off the questions tend to be more focused on policy, and less on scandal, politics, and a desire for confrontation for its own sake.
And, hey, I don’t remember any of the TV reporters complaining on behalf of print reporters when, under previous administrations, they hogged the briefing. People like David Gregory and Martha Raddatz seemed to think the briefing was being held exclusively for them.
What Spicer is doing is hardly a scandal. I mean, he’s still taking questions.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, yes, it still makes a noise. And if a press secretary answers a question without a TV camera present, yes, he still answered a question.
Once, the White House did both an off-camera gaggle and an on-camera briefing, every day, but the Bush administration eliminated the morning gaggle.
Bring it back.