Priorities! Dem rep takes legal step against camera-less pressers in favor of media allies

“It’s called separation of powers for a reason.”

A Democratic lawmaker introduced a bill in the U.S. House Thursday that would require at least two televised White House press briefings per week.

The “Free Press Act,” sponsored by Rep. Jim Himes, was introduced by the Connecticut Democrat in response to the audio-only daily briefings recently imposed in order to reduce theatrics within the press pool.

Himes, however, saw this as a hostile act by the administration.

“President Trump has displayed an overtly hostile attitude toward the press since the early days of the presidential campaign,” he said, according to The Hill.

From throughout his presidential campaign to the present, Trump’s relationship with the press has been at times rancorous, with the president calling some outlets — especially CNN and NBC/MSNBC — “fake news.”

“This simple bill achieves two important goals,” Himes continued. “First, it ensures that the press briefings will continue on a regular schedule. Second, it guarantees the American people have access to the proceedings first hand.”

“A free and independent press is essential to the survival of a functioning democracy,” he added. “The media’s role is to ask the tough questions on behalf of the American public and work to hold our leaders accountable. I hope this bill helps push back on the efforts of this, or any, administration to suppress this necessary reporting.”

TV journalists may hate the idea of camera-less daily briefings, but the White House staff is loving it. When CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to upstage another reporter late last month, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had to remind him to stop the grandstanding with: “There are no cameras on, Jim.”

Two former White House spokesmen — one from each party — also like the idea.

Ari Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush, and Mike McCurry, who served under President Bill Clinton, both claimed that off-camera press briefings reduce theatrics and are therefore “better for the public.”

Himes drew a lot of support for his bill on social media — but it wasn’t universal. Some thought it silly and wondered when Congress was going to tackle the real bread-and-butter issues that concern Americans.

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CNN’s Acosta has persistently whined about the new briefing rules to no avail. and earlier this week Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith joined the chorus with an on-air hissy-fit.


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