In Donald Trump Era, The Death Of The White House Press Conference: The presidential news conference, a time-honouring tradition going back generations, appears to be no longer.
In Donald Trump Era, The Death Of The White House Press Conference
More than a year has passed since President Donald Trump held the only solo news conference of his administration is a rollicking, hastily arranging, 77-minute free-for-all during which he rails against the media, defends his fired national security adviser and insisted nobody who is advising his campaign had contacts with Russia.
But there were no signs the White House press shop is delightful in a second go-round.
Instead, the president engages the press in more informal settings that aides say offers reporters far more access, more often than past administrations.
President Trump is more accessible than most modern presidents and frequently takes questions from the press, says White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The president often answers shouting questions at so-called pool sprays, in which a small group of rotating reporters is giving access to events such as bill signings and Cabinet lunches.
Trump has also taken to answering shouting questions on the White House lawn as he arrives at and departs the White House.
The frenzied exchanges are frequently taking place over the roar of Marine One’s rotor often produce news.
But the format also gives the president far more control than he will have during a traditional question-and-answer session.
Trump can easily ignore questions he does not like and dodge follow-ups in a way that will be glaring in a traditional news conference.
On Friday, for instance, Trump answering several questions in the Oval Office about North Korea and Iran.
But when a reporter is asking about his threats regarding intervening in the Justice Department, Trump responding with a curt thank you that signaled to reporters that he is doing with the Question & Answer session.
The president also holds joint news conferences with visiting world leaders; a format reporters call two and two because each leader selects two of its country’s reporters to ask questions.
While the format looks similar to a single news conference, the president more often than not calls on friendly reporters from conservative outlets and limits the opportunity for follow-up questions.
On Friday, during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called on reporters from Fox Business Network and the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Fox News correspondent John Roberts has called on so often that Trump once picking him and then changing his mind. We will go somebody else this time, John. You’ve been doing enough, John, he says to laughs.
Trump also submits to occasional one-on-one interviews with individual news outlets. Last week, he called into Fox & Friends, his favored format during the campaign.
And several times he has held longer, impromptu question-and-answer sessions, including one in the Rose Garden with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that, for reporters, has the feel of a mosh pit.
Margaret Talev, a long time White House reporters and president of the White House Correspondents Association, says the association welcomes Trump’s openness to engage on a regular basis, in a pool sprays in the Oval Office and less traditional settings such as South Lawn departures.
But, she says We have disappointing at his reluctance to engage in regular full-format news conferences, and we will continue to encourage him and his team to return to the practice.
Such news conferences help the public to gain a deeper understanding of a president’s thinking on an issue; show transparency and accountability; allow journalists to raise questions the public may be concerned about, and also allow a president to shape his message.”
Indeed, during his campaign, Trump is often criticizing his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for failing to engage more with the press.
Crook Hillary Clinton has not held a news conference in more than seven months. Hillary Record is so sorry she is unable to answer the tough questions he tweeting in the year June 2016.
The pattern marks a dramatic departure from historic precedent, according to records kept by The American Presidency Project and dating back to Calvin Coolidge.
In their first years alone, President Barack Obama held 11 solo news conferences, George W. Bush caught five, and Bill Clinton a dozen. Trump found just one.
It is part of a pattern reflecting Trump’s extraordinarily hostile relationship with a press he loves to hate.
The White House is not legally mandated or required to hold press conferences, but it is a tradition that is in place because it serves the public, says Katie Townsend, the litigation director at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
And I think the idea that the media is the enemy of the American people and an enemy of the president itself.
I think the unwillingness to talk to the members of the media is part of that.
But Ari Fleischer, who is serving as press secretary for George W. Bush, says there is little benefit for a White House to hold solo new conferences anymore since the president can communicate with the public in other ways.
So long as the president is held accountable as a result of frequent pool sprays, as a result of regular press conferences with heads of state, one-on-one interviews.
The public gets its accountability through other tactics beyond formal long-winded news conferences, Fleischer says.
Bush, he is noting, was not a fan of the prime-time news conference, complaining that reporters will peacock at those events, making them more about themselves than the president.
Trump, however, seem to like the format, which he is crediting last year for his election win.
Tomorrow, they will say, Donald Trump rants and raves at the press. I am not ranting and raving. I am just telling you.
You know, your dishonest people. But I am not ranting and raving. I love this; he said during his press conference last year. I am having a good time doing it.
So, these are the points to describe on the in Donald Trump era, the death of the White House press conference.
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