Erick calls the Washington establishment press the “circle of jerks.” They’ve been told they’re in charge so long that they believe it. They’ve been kowtowed to, built up, stroked and boosted so much by so many that they really think they are a ruling class.
To wit: CNN wailed in lamentation on the dearth of on-camera press briefings, after briefly acknowledging “But it’s up to [Press Secretary Sean] Spicer, not the press corps.”
“We have noticed the lack of on-camera briefings,” Sabrina Siddiqui of The Guardian newspaper told CNN. “It is not normal to have this many ‘off-camera gaggles.'”
“We definitely have noticed,” said George Condon, National Journal’s White House correspondent, who doubles as a historian. “I can’t say that I am very surprised, though. They have been predicting something like this all through the transition.”
“Sean Spicer clearly was under orders to ‘shake up’ the briefing,” he added. “Fortunately, the more radical changes — like tossing the press out of the White House and eliminating the daily briefing — didn’t happen.”
It’s not “normal.” It’s not “established practice,” said some cardboard cut-out labeled “random expert who agrees with us” who CNN dug out of some producer’s speed dial or an archived story from 2008.
CNN’s whole argument carries the academic and intellectual weight of an offended professor stumped by a student’s question.
Televised briefings are valuable to TV networks for obvious journalistic reasons. Having on-camera answers is increasingly important for digital and social newsrooms too.
Oh. The answer is obvious. It’s “journalistic” reasons. Because it’s not journalism to simply quote Spicer on the record with words like newspapers do. No, no. It’s ratings. Televised briefings bring ratings, especially from the Trump White House.
This is the strategy I believed Trump would use if he really wanted to hurt the press. Maybe the press war isn’t as fake as I believed. Taking TV appearances off the daily menu will hurt CNN in a real way. There’s only so much hay they can make with recycled talking heads, panels and breathless reports of what Trump tweeted today.
Denying the TV networks fresh meat is actual war on them, and they don’t like it one bit. They thought they were in charge, but they’re not.