Whiny Press Bemoans Trump’s Chopper Chats [OPINION]
The media hated formal White House press briefings because reporters felt as though they were not always getting the whole story from the Trump Administration's press spokesperson. Trump dumps the daily press briefings and instead makes himself available to reporters on a fairly regular basis, and now the press is whining over that. Geez!
Almost every time Trump leaves or returns to the White House, he wanders over to the driveway where the press gaggle is assembled, and takes questions, sometimes issuing a statement first. What great access. No other president in my memory has ever done that.
Late-night TV talk host Steven Colbert has referred to the impromptu press briefings as "chopper talk" news conferences. Politico says some in the press feel as though the sessions make it difficult to hold Trump accountable and paints them in an unflattering light. What better way is there to cover the president than by having direct access to him? Stop your whining.
Weijia Jiang of CBS News tells Politico: “If he was at a podium, we would be pressing him after he answers the question, we would be correcting him, we would be pointing out discrepancies in previous answers, and we’re not able to do that in the chaotic setting of a departure. Many times I’ve tried to ask a follow-up question, but he’s already pointed to somebody else."
The problem for the press is that these press briefings give Trump a greater ability to control the message. The media hates when it's not in control. Unlike during the traditional press room briefings, the cameras are trained on Trump and not the grandstanding members of the press. They don't get their face time and it kills them.
According to CBS White House reporter Mark Knoller, Trump has conducted 80 of these impromptu press briefings over two and a half years, as compared to his predecessor Barack Obama, who conducted only three. Trump also regularly invites the press to cover cabinet meetings during which he answers their questions on an unrestricted basis.
Trump has figured out how to set the message and how to deal with the press while still granting reporters unprecedented access. The American people get to hear directly from the president this way and not some network spin that more often than not represents fake news.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.