Press gaggles — on-the-record scrums with communication staffers that disallow video recording — are a staple of White House reporting, and it’s highly unusual for a reporter to be barred from the meeting. Today, after Trump delivered a stinging (and contradictory) critique of the media, The New York Times, CNN, the L.A. Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were prevented from attending.
The Associated Press and Time boycotted the gaggle in solidarity with their colleagues. Other news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, One America News Network and Fox News were allowed in and did not boycott the gaggle.
Go or don’t go. But I gotta say, I find the constant bitching about this incredibly annoying and tiresome.
The importance of this shit, of standing around in a room waiting to be fed, dates from Ye Olden Tymes before the president and his staff tweeted everything that popped into their heads. There is no reason why two people should have to stand next to one another to get the same information. Swallow your pride and retweet somebody else’s tweets.
I know the club of the most of us were just taught to re-report something somebody else reported so that it doesn’t look like we’re giving credit to competitors. But if this is truly the extraordinary moment we’re being told we should subscribe to respond to, maybe put your shoulders into finding another way of doing things that suits the urgency of the times instead of insisting your chair be where it always has been.
Or, you know, don’t. After 20 minutes of no attention this administration and every other one on earth (sigh, yes, including Obama’s, you people are so tiresome) will be gasping for oxygen and offering donuts to anyone who wants to come back in. At that point you can send people if you want or you can flip them the double birds, who cares.
This is not the greatest threat a free press currently faces. The greatest threat a free press currently faces is being cowed and penned up and herded into various structures after which its members act like they have no choice but to amble along mooing. The greatest threat a free press faces comes, as ever, not from whatever dick is manning a political podium but by stupid cowards who think their cowardly stupidity isn’t being noticed.
The greatest threat a free press currently faces is that the people who own one don’t want to pay for it to operate and keep throwing shit-fits over where to put their highest-paid stenographers instead of devoting those dollars to challenging denials of FOIA requests. If Trump spurs a few more news organizations to say fuck to this WHOLE ENDEALMENT, I say well done.