Ari Fleischer teams up with Clinton press sec Mike McCurry to offer fix for WH briefings
And they said bipartisanship was dead?
Here’s Ari Fleischer and Mike McMcurry, press secretaries to presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton respectively, with a solution to the on-camera/off-camera briefing mess: film and embargo for later coverage.
The two made this recommendation back in January where they predicted the exact media environment we’re in today:
So, what to do differently? First, we recommend that President-elect Trump keep the press briefing, but no longer make it a live televised event. The briefing today has become an occasion for too much posturing on both sides of the camera. The president’s spokesman should and must be available for questioning, especially on those days when the president’s schedule does not include a public appearance.
But a simple change could make a difference. If the briefing is “embargoed” until its conclusion, it will become just one of several raw ingredients that journalists can use to prepare their reports on the work of the president and the White House. 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. An exception could be made by the White House if there is a major compelling event that demands live coverage, but the emphasis of the briefing should be on gathering and delivering real content. 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.
Seems like good advice, but the media won’t like it because they’re scoring monster ratings with the daily press briefing live. We know this, thanks to Media Matters of all places, and this analysis they did comparing briefings in the Obama White House to those of President Trump:
The three main cable news networks have obsessively covered the Spicer briefings. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC each aired at least 93 percent of Spicer’s briefing time, compared to only 2 percent of Earnest’s.
If airing the briefings live is so important to democracy, why didn’t the MSM cover them as such during the Obama years?