A brave reporter finally fires back against the White House’s continued efforts to suppress the free media.
For reasons that Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the White House refused to unveil, video or broadcasting live audio were banned from within White House press briefings for weeks leading up to Spicer’s leaving the administration.
When Sean Spicer was continuously questioned about the new measure and his lack of appearances in front of the press, he said that the White House was going to continue to “mix things up”.
This came after Trump threatened to cancel briefings altogether back in May, citing the fact that it was not possible for his surrogates to always be perfectly accurate in their responses.
Reporters have been frustrated with the White House’s lack of transparency, and this ban on ways to document exactly what happens within press briefings was just another blow in the war on the free press. News organizations have gotten their jabs in when possible, such as when CNN sent in a sketch artist to combat the ban on video recording.
What’s Happening Now:
The latest reporter to stand up to the White House is Ksenija Pavlovic, former Yale professor and founder of news site Pavlovic Today. She live-streamed audio from a briefing twice, clocking in at 17 and 31 minutes, respectively.
Pavlovic, a small, lesser-known independent reporter, is the first reporter to defy the rules, as The Hill states:
“Pavlovic’s actions are the first known instance of a reporter disregarding the White House restrictions on recording, which have frustrated reporters and news networks.
Fox News, MSNBC and CNN all aired delayed coverage of the off-camera briefing because of White House instructions.”
All reporters have been frustrated with the White House’s odd demands to keep the cameras out; even Fox News stated, “It’s the White House rules, not ours”, when explaining to viewers why they could not show them footage or play audio of press briefings.
While Pavlovic is the first to openly defy, reporters have gotten upset at press briefings. On June 26th, CNN reporter Jim Acosta continuously demanded that Spicer answer why the cameras were no longer allowed to be turned on inside meetings. Reporter Brian Karem took on Sarah Huckabee Sanders directly when she decided to attack the news media, accusing them of being untrustworthy and dishonest, by informing her that her words were purposefully inflammatory and every reporter in the room was just trying to do their job.
Pavlovic had enough with the White House’s non-answers and sneaky ways of keeping themselves from being held accountable against undeniable evidence of their words and decided to stop waiting around for the White House, or even big-time reporters, to do the right thing.
The press briefings have always been a chance for White House representatives to spin negative press and for reporters to get answers. Under the Trump administration, spinning has become outright propaganda and lies, which may make some think that we don’t need the briefings, anyway.
Except we do. The press needs a chance to have on record that they asked the tough questions, the White House and related surrogates just refused to answer. They can continue to prove that the White House is uncooperative, sneaky, and just overall continuing to suggest that it is the president and his insiders against the American people.
Knowing that their facial expressions will be on camera and their words recorded exactly to be played back and analyzed for the entire country to see keeps representatives on their toes and forced into telling at least some of the truth. By chipping away at the integrity of the briefings, the White House is running from that accountability.
By yanking cameras and audio and threatening to close press briefings altogether, Trump is defying decades of White House tradition without giving a compelling reason why.
Like with everything he does, all he is doing is begging the question: what are you trying to hide, Mr. President?