Always 'tight on time' White House press shop giving ever stingier briefings by the month
Not a White House press briefing goes by where press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doesn’t invoke being “tight on time” in some form at least a handful of times or more. And in fact, her press briefings are getting, well, briefer, writes the Washington Post.
On the dozen occasions in May when President Trump’s spokesmen conducted question-and-answer sessions with reporters — on camera at the White House or off camera aboard Air Force One, as deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley did on Thursday — the average duration was 17.6 minutes.
The length of these Q&As has declined in each month since January, when a typical exchange with reporters lasted about 30 minutes.
At the current rate of decline — about 3 minutes per month — press briefings will disappear altogether by November. Trump mused on Twitter last year that “maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings.’ ”
Sanders also reserves a portion of the opening minutes mainly to read fan mail about Donald Trump, always relaying how awesome he is.
But the main problem with the way she conducts briefings is that she uses the ‘time’ tactic to avoid follow-up questions—and follow ups are integral to actually nailing someone down on an issue. Politicians and spokespeople often simply respond to the question they wish they were asked rather than the one presented. Follow ups give a reporter a chance to either tease them out on their answer or to simply repeat the original question, thereby highlighting the fact that they’re dodging.