US News White House reporters fume over off-camera briefings

23:40  19 june  2017
23:40  19 june  2017 Source:   The Hill

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The White House press corps vented frustration Monday with press secretary Sean Spicer for conducting off - camera briefings in place of the usual publicly broadcast briefings . Spicer conducted an off - camera briefing with reporters on Monday in which the press was told it could not film or

White House reporters fume over off - camera briefings . Administration. “You know, if he can’t come out and answer the questions and they’re just not doing to do this on camera or audio, why are we even having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place?”

Sean Spicer © The Hill Sean Spicer The White House press corps vented frustration Monday with press secretary Sean Spicer for conducting off-camera briefings in place of the usual publicly broadcast briefings.

Spicer conducted an off-camera briefing with reporters on Monday in which the press was told it could not film or broadcast audio of the proceedings. Spicer conducted the last on-camera briefing last Monday.

"The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he's just kind of useless," CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta said after the briefing. "If they're getting to this point where he's not going to answer questions or go on camera or have audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?"

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With a lot of news coming from the White House today and over the weekend, reporters and correspondents were obviously hoping that White House press secretary Sean Spicer would hold a full, on- camera press briefing today

The White House has increasingly forged its own path with the press - holding off-camera briefings and gaggles, imposing restrictions on reporters' use of audio and video feeds, inviting Cabinet officials to speak only about specific policy issues and rotating between Spicer and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Some of those moves have angered the White House press corps but delighted Trump's supporters, who view the media as what White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has dubbed the "opposition party."

Time reporter Zeke Miller asked Spicer Monday to explain "why our friends in radio and television can't use this live."

Spicer responded that the president had made comments at a photo opportunity with the Panamanian president and later would make public comments at a technology council meeting.

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Press secretary Sean Spicer held an audio-only press briefing on Wednesday, but the White House told news outlets they could not broadcast the audio live. Multiple reporters said the White House told reporters that the off - camera gaggle could not be broadcast. .@ WhiteHouse says today's gaggle

“Several reporters , including some broadcast ones, agree that off camera briefings tend to [be] more informative. Today, we had a White House spokesperson out on the morning shows and the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security and Attorney General do an on camera announcement.”

"There are days where we decide that the president's voice should be the one who speaks for the administration," Spicer said.

However, there is no opportunity on those occasions for reporters to question President Trump or his administration officials.

A second reporter at Monday's briefing followed up.

"On the days when you come out here and there is not a camera, could you please ask the president to be ever so kind and step up here and answer some questions for us on that day?"

"I'll be sure to share your sentiments with the president," Spicer responded.

Spicer declined to call on CNN's Acosta on Monday as the veteran reporter shouted questions at him that were ignored. Trump slammed CNN and Acosta at a February press conference as "fake news."

As Spicer walked away, Acosta shouted: "It's off-camera and you can't answer questions?"

Acosta then went on TV to call the off-camera briefing "bizarre."

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The White House excluded a number of media outlets from a press briefing on Friday, leading others to boycott the off - camera event. Shortly before noon on Friday the White House said press secretary Sean Spicer would hold an off - camera “gaggle” with reporters in the afternoon.

CNN White House reporter Jeff Zeleny told Blitzer that his network had asked if Spicer would make himself available for on- camera questioning but that he declined. A spokesperson for the White House told the Examiner that the briefing was intended to be off camera .

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