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

Says gaggles should not replace televised press conferences
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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 met last week with press secretary Sean Spicer and deputy Sarah Sanders to talk about the briefings, telling the two that the WHCA was not satisfied "with the current state of play."

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He urged the White House not to replace the daily on-camera briefings with not-for-broadcast "gaggles" -- informal 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.

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

President Donald Trump 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.

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