Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, has announced the organization is “not satisfied” with the halt of daily, televised and recorded White House press briefings.
The White House press team has frequently cancelled or modified daily briefings, such as hosting off-camera sessions, forbidding the use of audio from the briefings, or cancelling them all together on certain days.
“The WHCA’s position on this issue is clear: we believe strongly that Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions from an independent news media, in keeping with the principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government,” Mason said in an email to members of the association.
Members of the White House staff have publicly suggested changes in the daily briefings, and have already changed several aspects from the traditional setting. Changes such as “Skype Seats” where reporters and talk show hosts from across the country are able to ask questions, have been included in some briefings.
Press secretary Sean Spicer defended the administration’s changes and potential alterations to the format of the briefings. “We’re going to do what we can to communicate our message,” Spicer said at Tuesday’s briefing when asked about the frequency of press briefings. “The briefing is one aspect of what we do.”