The former CEO of everybody’s favorite fake news generator, CNN, came out with an opinion during an interview on MSNBC that not only diverged from the expected, but seemingly vindicated White House press secretary Sean Spicer, as well.
Former CNN CEO and Time magazine managing editor Walter Isaacson said on-air at MSNBC on Wednesday that he believed the White House should have fewer on-camera briefings — because the presence of the cameras transforms journalists from reporters into performers.
That’s likely not what host Andrea Mitchell wanted to hear, since she apparently lobbed the question to make it easier for Isaacson to come against Spicer — but he did not.
“How important is it — or unimportant — the White House doesn’t have on-camera briefings and doesn’t have daily briefings?” she asked, according to the The Washington Free Beacon. “And we certainly don’t have them at the State Department anymore.”
Isaacson seemed to know his answer wasn’t what most of the media would be looking for.
“You know, I’m going to say something that’s heretical. I think the on-camera briefings could be cut back,” he said.
“I think it’s really good to have off-camera, people discussing things, some for the print press even if it’s not on camera,” he continued. “I think on camera, everybody performs.“
In other words, the Washington press corps wants the cameras for themselves and their own career advancement, not for the American public.
The assessment goes hand in hand with what Spicer said on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” where he made the comment that a lot of the reporters “want to become YouTube stars and ask some snarky question that’s been asked eight times.”
Isaacson further noted that the verbal sparring reporters have with Spicer does not serve to further audience understanding of the activities of the administration — it’s just reporters looking to get themselves a step up in a competitive field.
“The jousting with the press secretary done on camera doesn’t really get us that far to understanding things better,” he said.
Of course, both Spicer and Isaacson are exactly right.
In a nation in which the media cares less about the facts than they do getting the perfect sound byte to get internet views, putting a man or woman up in front of the camera to serve as a foil for all of them is not only a poor political decision — it’s counterproductive to getting factual information from the White House to the people of the United States.
If Spicer or whoever else operating in the capacity of press secretary can communicate to the American people more effectively off-camera than on-camera, then by all means, let them do so.
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