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White House press secretary Sean Spicer calls on a member of the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Should the White House cancel daily press briefings? This Trump adviser says yes.


Should the White House cancel daily press briefings? This Trump adviser says yes.

WATCH | President Trump has once again suggested the White House could stop holding daily press briefings, and now one of his advisers says he thinks so too. 

'They're way overdone'

That's what C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush and now an adviser to Trump, had to say about the daily briefings that have become a staple for journalists in Trump's administration. 

"You could have a briefing when something big broke, like the firing of the FBI director or passage of Obamacare repeal in the House," Gray said. "But to have it every day on the dot, five days a week, regardless of what’s in the news is, I think, a big mistake.”

Gray argued that all the briefings do is "allow the mainstream media who are allowed in to compare notes, to make plans, to get in sync with themselves, and that’s one of the reasons why the mainstream media all sound the same." 

Gray isn't the only one

Some experts argue that the televised briefings actually benefit right-leaning newsgroups, not normally allowed into the briefing room, more than the mainstream media.

"One of the ways that the conservative local press and the conservative internet press has been legitimized is through attendance, even via Skype," said Nikki Usher, an assistant professor of media and public policy at George Washington University.

"So you kill these briefings and that's kind of a stab in the belly to some of these smaller, right-wing, Trump favorable outlets," she said. 

Newt Gingrich even told Politico on Tuesday that Trump should "close down the White House press briefing room" all together, saying he was tired of being "harassed" by the media and that closing down the press briefing room would show the nation how corrupt they truly are.

Canceling would be a big deal

Canceling the briefings would be a huge move. The White House has held daily briefings for journalists as far back as the Woodrow Wilson administration and they've been televised since Bill Clinton's presidency. 

The White House Correspondents Association balked at the idea when Trump first floated it. 

But are they really important?

Usher noted that editorial decisions to send in junior staff has added to a growing chorus of people who question the importance of televised briefings, especially when  journalists don't trust what the White House is saying or see it just as a daily circus.

"There are whole contingents of media critics and White House journalists who have been saying 'send in the interns' to these briefings because there's so little actual news that gets broken," Usher said. 

Newsworthy or not, it's still a valuable tool

For both the White House and journalists, the briefings are valuable. For the White House, the briefings are a chance to shape their message and to put out fires, and for Trump, it's a chance to get big league television ratings. 

The briefings give journalists a chance to get responses from the White House to make their reporting more fair and balanced. 

I think what the briefings do is they give journalists a chance to say that they gave the white house a chance to answer their questions.
Nikki Usher

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