Take that Acosta! Bipartisan former press secretaries come out in support Spicer’s camera-free briefings

The Trump administration found some support from former White House press secretaries who defended the decision to end live camera briefings.

The Bush administration’s Ari Fleisher joined former Clinton spokesman, Mike McCurry, in calling for and end to live television coverage of White House press briefings. The bipartisan pair agreed that the briefings could be recorded but saved for later use.

“It would instantly become a toned-down briefing, and reporters would use the information from the briefing and test it against other sources as they prepare coverage. It would not be a ‘news event’ in and of itself,” they wrote in January in a joint op-ed in the Columbia Journalism Review.

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“Too much of the briefing today is a game of ‘gotcha’ and ‘what did the president do wrong?’ A better model would focus on facts and substance,” they added.

The tweets on Wednesday from the former press secretaries follow after backlash from reporters for a decision by the White House to conduct some press briefings off-camera. Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, has recently held some audio-only briefings with no cameras allowed.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has had a public meltdown over the new rules, sounding the alarm that the administration wants “their evasive answers not saved for posterity.”

Acosta got into a heated battle with Spicer earlier this week as he demanded to know why the cameras in the briefing room were not on. He had another tantrum on Tuesday when he whined about deputy secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders only taking questions from conservative reporters.

Theatrics like those by Acosta and other journalists are behind the White House effort to reign in the briefings and bring them back to the function they are meant to serve, not as a showcase for grandstanding media.

Fleischer told The Hill in April that no longer televising the briefings live would “calm things down a bit.”

“The briefing would be cameras in the back of the room, film it all, but there would be no live coverage. So if CNN wants to replay the entire briefing at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, they could. I doubt they ever would but they could,” Fleischer said.

“It gives the TV cameras everything the print guys have but it’s not a live TV show,” he added. “I think that would cool things down and calm things down a little bit, and be more old-fashioned in the conveyance of information, as opposed to two sides posturing and fighting on air.”

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