During a Q&A session with National Journal, Mike McCurry, White House press secretary during Bill Clinton’s presidency, suggested a new relationship between the incoming Trump administration and reporters, especially dealing with protective press pools and televised daily briefings.
Recently, the Trump transition team has breached protocol by travelling multiple times unannounced without his assigned press pool and by failing to notify reporters of the President-elect’s schedule.
Speaking about the protective press pools, McCurry said they can often be a waste of time.
“I think having a bunch of talented journalists sitting around a country club sipping Arnold Palmers while the president plays golf is an utter waste of time and a drain on news organization budgets that are already strained,” McCurry said, referring to where the pool normally works from while President Barack Obama is golfing. “So, yes, I think adjusting the terms of engagement for the protective pool makes sense.”
Instead of focusing on press pools that could result in reporters’ time spent on non-newsworthy information, McCurry called on the media to fight for more reliable access to senior transition and administration officials.
“The White House press corps should fight for things that really matter like access to senior officials, more openness when it comes to sharing of documents and regular ‘real’ briefings from senior decision-makers and staff,” McCurry said.
He also criticized the current state of daily briefings, stating they have devolved into stagesmanship instead of producing newsworthy information.
“The daily briefing has become less than helpful and I bear responsibility for that because I let it become a televised event. It should not be,” McCurry said. “It should be embargoed until completion and not carried ‘live’ except in unusual circumstances…like real news happening.”