The impossibility of Sean Spicer's job, in one word: 'mean'

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.   Mark Wilson  Getty Images

Trump's relations with the media — never strong to begin with — have taken another sour turn with dwindling opportunities for on-camera engagement with the president's representatives.

The White House has appeared to adopt a communications strategy of dealing primarily with its base of supporters.

Spicer ignored the unrest and called on One America News Network's Trey Yingst only to be confronted about the elephant in the room - the off-camera briefing that was taking place.

He's right. The question is how far those who cover the White House - and the organizations that back those reporters - are willing to push the envelope with a White House committed to ensuring the press briefing withers on the vine.

The new standard established by Spicer has served as a blanket excuse to keep the confrontational battles with the press that have frequently centered on charges having to do with Russian Federation and inquiries about the president's tweets out of the public eye as the White House reportedly searches for a new spokesman.

"We're just not getting questions to the White House press secretary". "We are not satisfied with the current state of play, and we will work hard to change it". People like David Gregory and Martha Raddatz seemed to think the briefing was being held exclusively for them.

Nevertheless, reporters say the alternative - no briefings - would be worse, considering that the sessions typically are the only chance to ask administration officials questions in an open setting, live and on the record.


He said that while those could be useful, they should not replace regular, televised briefings.

Acosta, who has not been silent about his criticism of the decision, attempted to ask Spicer a question.

Acosta also made a tweet with a hashtag asking why the cameras were off. "You are a taxpayer-funded spokesman for the United States government, could you at least give us an explanation for why the cameras are off?" he continued.

"Maybe we should turn the cameras on", he responded. But when Trump held a Rose Garden ceremony with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even that route to the president was cut off. A few have noted it on Twitter, but none has taken up two suggestions offered by President Donald Trump's critics: Defy the camera ban and broadcast the briefings anyway, or boycott them.

"Yeah, some days we'll have them on, some days we'll have them off", the spokesman said.

NBC News' Lester Holt conducted the last non-Fox television interview with Trump on May 11.

Acosta on Monday said he wants to make "perfectly clear" to viewers that the Obama White House called on Fox News in the daily briefings.

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