If there’s one trait White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has become known for, it’s her frequent contempt for the relatively poor example of America’s fourth estate she gets to meet with on certain weekdays. Apparently, this is perceived as a bug by some members of the mainstream media. I personally view it as a feature — a particularly wonderful feature.
After yet another question about President Donald Trump’s Twitter habits (nobody’s ever asked those!) at a White House news conference Monday, Sanders was her usual epigrammatical self, noting that the media chooses to write about things Americans “don’t care about.”
“Has anyone in this administration ever asked the president — last week, you had, on your agenda — you had an agenda where you have more jobs coming out — I mean, lower unemployment coming, and you also had — the Second Chance Act, I think it was,” one reporter asked.
“And instead of those, we had to respond to presidential tweets. Has anybody ever in this administration asked him to back away from Twitter just for a day?”
This is right after the same reporter asked, “Is there any chance we could ever see the president come out here and take some questions from us in this briefing room?”
I don’t see why Trump doesn’t venture down to the Brady Room more often. I’m sure the role of president is so boring and thankless that he’d love to waste some time with reporters who ask questions about his tweeting in 2018. Those weren’t even particularly new or probing before Trump started campaigning, much less became president.
Sanders responded in the frank manner which has become a hallmark of her tenure as press secretary.
“On the first question, certainly you guys would be the first to know if the president comes out here,” Sanders said. “But thankfully, he does address the press in a number of ways and in a number of venues. And we’ll see if it happens here. We’ll certainly let you know.”
“In terms of Twitter, the president uses Twitter to communicate directly to the American people,” she continued.
“Frankly, you have the ability to choose what you want to write about, and you guys choose to write about things the American people don’t care about — day in and day out,” she added. “That’s a decision you make, and frankly, I think it’s the wrong one.”
“But we don’t have the ability to ask him a question in regards to that,” the reporter shot back at Sanders, trying to cut off her answer. “We do not have the opportunity to ask him a question about that, though, Sarah.”
The reporter again tried to interrupt Sanders by asking, “Can we at least get an opportunity to ask him a question about what he tweets?” as she was calling on another reporter.
Well, there are several reasons why the answer to that is no. The first is that, again, I don’t think Trump needs to be constantly in a room with preening journalists who are still asking questions about his Twitter account as if that’s cutting-edge journalism.
Second, given that this reporter was talking over the answer he was getting from the press secretary, it’s not really clear that he was interested in hearing the answer. He was interested in being heard. If he wants to hear the sound of his own voice, Trump doesn’t even need to be in the room for that. (For that matter, neither does Sanders.)
And finally, the reporter seemed to think the media has to respond to presidential tweets. No, they don’t. They could have chosen to cover the stories the reporter mentioned (some of which were also tweeted about by the president, in case you were wondering).
They chose to cover what they wanted to cover in the way they felt like covering it — which is the point Sanders tried to make. The reporter was still interested in getting the president on the record when it came to those tweets, because the media thinks America automatically cares about it because that’s what they’re reporting. I think you can perhaps identify the problem here.
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