During Monday afternoon’s no-camera, audio only press briefing, CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta interrupted other reporters twice to question White House press secretary Sean Spicer about why the briefing wasn’t being broadcast live.
“We should turn the cameras on, Sean. Why don’t we turn the cameras on? Why don’t we turn the cameras on?” Acosta asked, talking over another reporter’s question. “Why don’t we turn the cameras on, Sean? They’re in the room, the lights are on.”
But Spicer refused to acknowledge Acosta or his question, which prompted the CNN reporter to post a series of tweets about the off-camera briefings, saying the move is an attempt to “get the coverage without the accountability.”
Just a few minutes later, another reporter asked if the off-camera briefings will be the new normal, to which Spicer responded, “We’ll see.”
Acosta interrupted again, asking why the cameras were off, as Spicer called on Trey Yingst, from the One America News Network.
“You are a taxpayer-funded spokesman for the United States, can you give us an explanation to why the cameras are off? It’s a legitimate question,” Acosta said, as Yingst asked Spicer, to “get this out of the way” and address why the cameras are off.
“Some days we’ll have them, some days we won’t. The President’s going to speak in the Rose Garden today, I want the President’s voice to carry the day today, and I think, so look, this is nothing inconsistent from what we had since day one,” Spicer said.
Appearing on CNN with host Ana Cabrera after the briefing, Acosta said the White House hasn’t taken a question from CNN for several weeks, calling the off-camera briefings an “erosion” of traditions in Washington.
“Make no mistake, this is a gradual erosion of the exceptions of the traditions that have been in place in this city for about a quarter of a century now, that these briefings be held on camera,” he said.
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