And thus does the First Crisis of the Trump Administration come to its conclusion. When Reince Priebus first suggested that the incoming president and his staff wanted to think outside the box for media relations and perhaps end the practice of reserved seating for briefings, national outlets made that the story of the day. When Sean Spicer suggested that they might need a bigger box for daily press briefings, it got reported as Trump kicking the media out of the White House.
Donald Trump tells Fox News in this interview that his team will just continue business as usual, but that the national media won’t like that either:
“The press went crazy, so I said, ‘Let’s not move it.’ But some people in the press will not be able to get in,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends” in an interview that aired Wednesday.
“We have so many people that want to go in so we’ll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room – I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that,” he said.
Trump said his administration offered a larger room for the press, but “they went crazy.”
“And they’ll be begging for a much larger room very soon,” he said. “You watch.”
According to Spicer, the room will start getting very crowded because bloggers and talk-radio hosts will get included in those briefing sessions. There’s actually no impediment now for New Media figures to get into those briefings. All it takes is a little planning to get the Secret Service background check completed, and a check-in at the White House. Occasional Hot Air contributor Allan Bourdius had no problem in getting into the White House briefing when covering the presentation of the Medal of Honor awards by Barack Obama. I’ve never tried it myself because I’ve never had a story that justified the effort, but I have friends who have encouraged me to give it a try.
What may change is the level of encouragement that comes from the administration itself to alternate media outlets. It’s no secret that Republican presidents get greater media scrutiny and skepticism than do Democratic presidents, and Trump’s antagonistic relationship with the media has pushed those knobs all the way to 11. Getting more bloggers and talk-radio hosts will allow the Trump team to flood the zone with more sympathetic media, and Spicer et al could leverage that even further by calling on those outlets more than the traditional media reporters, which will then encourage New Media to participate even more.
That’s a clever strategy, assuming that’s what Trump and Spicer have in mind. If that’s the case, then the current room will get very crowded, and Trump may be right that the traditional media outlets will start complaining about the lack of access to briefings.
One more media-related point from the Fox & Friends interview: Trump says he really doesn’t enjoy Twitter, but that the dishonesty of the media forces him to use it. Given his proclivity to use Twitter incessantly and at other critics — including some of his putative allies in Congress — we should probably take that with at least a small grain of salt.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 18, 2017