Today, Senate Republicans released their version of an Obamacare repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which was developed in unprecedented secrecy — and the White House would not allow video or audio broadcast of the daily press briefing.
CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta decried the White House’s decision on Twitter, writing, "YOUR government doesn't want you to see and hear what they're doing."
Read Acosta’s full twitter thread:
The WH is holding what is essentially a normal briefing in the briefing room but they aren't allowing cameras to record what's being said. https://t.co/GaOihp44jj— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 22, 2017
Sure we do "pen and pad" gaggles all the time with various officials. This is different. It's a briefing without the cameras. Why is that? https://t.co/N46FgBtVbr— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 22, 2017
The reason why is that YOUR government doesn't want YOU to see and hear what they're doing. In the United States of America. https://t.co/34qGRYjXUe— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 22, 2017
The United States of America should respect the freedom of the press. You know that freedom? It's in the constitution of the USA https://t.co/QKGB63WoRj— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 22, 2017
What would the GOP say if Hillary Clinton were to shut down the cameras in the briefing room? And the media went along with it? https://t.co/c0gKy03tod— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 22, 2017
This isn’t the first time Acosta has been critical of the administration, even this week, calling the press secretary “useless” during CNN Newsroom on Monday. CNN showed footage of the briefing room up until the briefing began — and instructions that news outlets were allegedly given began to circulate. After the briefing ended, CNN broadcast recorded audio.
The Trump administration has faced increasing criticism of their recent retreat from the press. As Jeff Guo wrote on Monday, the administration appears to have little communications strategy and an increasing distaste for interactions with reporters:
But in recent weeks, particularly as the Russia scandal heated up, Spicer has played a diminished role in public. The press briefings have been shorter, and have more frequently taken place off-camera. Yesterday, outlets were barred from even broadcasting the audio.
These tactics signal that the White House is anxious to take attention away from the briefings, which have turned into a ritual of resistance and stonewalling. Reporters ask tough questions, and Spicer deflects, or tells an outright lie. These daily encounters are no longer informative, and as theater, are no longer flattering for the administration.