In order to “ensure that press briefings will continue on a regular schedule,” and that “the American people have access to the proceedings first hand,” Democratic congressman Jim Himes (D-Conn.) introduced a bill on Thursday aimed at White House press briefings.
If passed, the “Free Press Act” would require the White House to hold at least two video-recorded press briefings each week, according to a press release.
“President Trump has displayed an overtly hostile attitude toward the press since the early days of the presidential campaign,” Himes said. “Aggressiveness toward reporters was a hallmark of many Trump rallies, where it was common for members of the media to be threatened and intimidated.
“This simple bill achieves two important goals,” Himes asserted. “First, it ensures that the press briefings will continue on a regular schedule. Second, it guarantees the American people have access to the proceedings first hand.
“A free and independent press is essential to the survival of a functioning democracy,” Himes said. “The media’s role is to ask the tough questions on behalf of the American public and work to hold our leaders accountable. I hope this bill helps push back on the efforts of this, or any, administration to suppress this necessary reporting.”
After their frequent occurrence in the first several months of the Trump administration, White House press briefings have been held less in recent weeks—particularly on-camera briefings, with the last one taking place on June 27.
Former White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush, and Mike McCurry, who served under President Bill Clinton, are advocates of abandoning on-camera press briefings due to the associated theatrics. Each claimed that such a change is “better for the public.”
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