White House press secretary Sean Spicer barred television cameras from Wednesday’s media briefing, the latest sign that he is scaling back interactions with journalists.
Spicer spoke for just 12 minutes, fielding questions for about 10, and said at the beginning of the session that news outlets were “free to use the audio after this has concluded.” Reuters, which had been carrying a live audio feed, quickly cut it off. But Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all continued to air sound of the briefing. Reporters could be heard grumbling as Spicer ended the Q&A.
“Quite a brief daily briefing,” MSNBC’s Katy Tur remarked at the conclusion. On Fox News, Jenna Lee told viewers that “this is something new. We’re not used to an audio-only press briefing, and there’ll be some news out of that, I’m sure.”
I’m sure, too. We’re witnessing a disappearing act by Sean Spicer.
His on-camera briefing on Tuesday was his first in 15 days — which was largely understandable because he spent much of the previous two weeks traveling overseas with President Trump. But instead of allocating ample time, in recognition that many questions had piled up, he ended the session after just 30 minutes and left in a huff, following an exchange with reporters over “fake news.”
Spicer was generally inaccessible during Trump’s foreign trip. One reporter explained the situation to Politico like this: “The most we’ve seen of Sean was at a rooftop bar in Jerusalem. But he refused to take work-related questions and said if you asked him a work-related question, then you had to take a shot.”
A week before the trip, Trump tweeted that “maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future press briefings and hand out written responses” — a threat that appeared to be a response to journalists’ complaints about false information that Spicer and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had…