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WHCA President Meets With Spicer, Sanders Over Off-Camera Briefings

Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, has expressed his displeasure to the White House over its recent off-camera and more sporadic "daily" briefings.

In a letter to association members, Mason said he had met last week with White House press secretary Sean Spicer and deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders to talk about the briefings, where he told Spicer and Sanders that WHCA was not satisfied "with the current state of play."

He urged the White House not to replace the daily on-camera briefings with not-for-broadcast "gaggles"—question and answer sessions. He said that while those could be useful, they should not replace regular televised briefings.

Spicer and Sanders said they would consider those suggestions.

Mason said members of the WHCA board have also done outreach over the past few weeks over the issue, trying to make WHCA's position clear, which is that "Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions form an independent news media, in keeping with the principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government."

The President has made it clear he does not think many of the mainstream media outlets in the White House press corps are independent, firing off volley after volley of tweets accusing them of being fake news, "the enemy" and the agents of Democrats trying to unseat or undermine him.

(Photo via Gage Skidmores Flickr. Image taken on June 20, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.