Back in January, CNN’s Brian Stelter was one of many network correspondents to go on the air and complain about the lack of White House press briefings. The briefings, which went away under Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and continued to stay on hiatus under her successor, Stephanie Grisham, were an important part of maintaining transparency with the American people, said these CNN wags. Stelter, marking the 301st day without such a briefing, tore into the Trump administration for their failure to face the media.
“We have to recognize that it’s not normal. This is not the way things have worked for decades in Washington and the reason there’s not briefings is simply because the president does not want briefings,” Stelter said in January. “It’s a sign of weakness, not strength. A strong administration, a confident administration would want to answer lots of questions. But instead, the president right now is on the phone with Rush Limbaugh.
“It shows weakness and it shows a lack of transparency that is troubling regardless of party or regardless of affiliation,” Stelter continued. “When the stakes are this high, that’s when transparency matters more than ever and it comes down to basic patriotism, about being expected to hold government officials accountable. I think that’s the ultimate act of patriotism. It’s what makes America so great, but unfortunately, there’s an unwillingness to enable that transparency and access by having this by briefings.”
After the coronavirus pandemic hit and President Trump began daily briefings with his task force, CNN joyfully celebrated the White House’s new commitment to transparency. They did so again when new White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany began holding regular press briefings. CNN spent nearly an hour just this week giving President Trump and his communications team their due before chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta presented McEnany and Trump with a dual award for Upholding Press Freedom and Government Access.
No, none of that happened. Instead, what did CNN do after complaining for a year about the lack of press briefings? They opted NOT TO COVER THE PRESS BRIEFINGS!
“The network chooses to contradict its own demands made for months about holding briefings in a stunning lack of self-awareness,” noted The Hill’s Joe Concha.
“This is absurd, hurts they viewers, and hurts their ability to describe themselves as news networks,” former CNN producer Steve Krakauer said, calling out both his ex-employer and MSNBC. “Meanwhile, CNN airs Cuomo’s press briefing every single day.”
CNN is an absolute travesty of a network. Then again, the sky is blue.