The Trump Administration has proposed the inclusion of non-traditional media including bloggers and radio talk show hosts in press briefings that has always been the exclusive domain of the mainstream media. At Trump’s press conference last week, Breitbart News was given a front row seat (usually reserved for major media organizations only)
The Guardian Trump’s pick for White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Sunday that due to “off the chart” interest in the new administration, the president-elect was considering moving briefings from the James S Brady press briefing room, which has been used by presidents to address the media since 1970, to a venue with a greater capacity.
“I know change is difficult sometimes,” Spicer told Fox News. “But sometimes change can actually be better.”
Spicer argued the proposal would mean “you can involve more people, be more transparent, have more accessibility”. He suggested that this would mean outlets that are not traditionally part of the White House press corps would be able to ask questions during presidential press briefings.
“There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media,” Spicer said, “but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.”
Around 200 journalists make up the White House press corps but there are only 49 seats for major media organizations in the Brady Press Briefing Room. It remains unclear how the proposal would be implemented, but it is likely to be interpreted as a hostile rebuke to conventional media outlets around the country.
According to the Associated Press, Breitbart News, branded by critics as a racist, far-right news site, was the only media organization to have a reserved seat in the front row for the conference.