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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Destroying the White House Press Briefings



I had never watched a White House Press Briefing before Trump won = they seemed kind of boring. But once Trump was in office the briefings became important to me ... they were an instance of public scrutiny of the Trump administration's policies. All the questions I myself wanted to ask about what Trump and his henchmen were up to were being asked by the press, and not just asked publicly and on tv, but asked and answered in real time. The press briefings are about accountability.

But ever since that early press briefing in which Sean Spicer avowed that the attendance at Trump's inauguration was the biggest that had ever occurred (lie) ...



... the Trump administration has been struggling to control and shape the briefings, and the reporters who attend, as if the briefings were a propaganda tool for the Trump administration. The latest effort in this direction has been the decision to end real time televised briefings and instead to only allow audio and even that only recorded for later use. In the 6/26 briefing, CNN's Jim Acosta tried to bring the subject up ...



Spicer's answer was non-responsive, lame, and, I believe, untrue.

Does this all matter? Yes! ...



I think the main reason Trump is destroying the WH press briefings is because he knows that most people watch televised news and that most people are owned by "seeing is believing" ... if we can no longer watch a video clip of Trump and his representatives being caught in their many lies, then in a way, those lies didn't really happen.

Here's an example of what I mean: Trump averred that he fired James Comey on the recommendation of Rosenstein and Sessions. All of his minions repeated this untruth, from Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Pence. And then came the televised Holt interview in which Trump said he had already decided to fire Comey because of the Russia investigation, before Rosenstein and Session provided a pretext for that ...



And then here in a following press briefing, White House Correspondent for ABC News, Jonathan Karl, makes the effort to hold the White House accountable on this. The antagonism, factual gymnastics, and blame-shifting by Huckabee Sanders are breathtaking ....



We need reporters like Karl to ask these kind of questions in real time and on tv, even if the Trump administration turns into pretzels trying to avoid giving a straight answer, because we need to get the truth out there in public, visually, viscerally, if we want to be a democracy.

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