February 16, 2018
February 16, 2018
February 14, 2018
And finally we get to today.
The White House briefing was scheduled for 1:00
And then for 2:30.
And then it scooted across the rest of the afternoon until it was canceled a couple minutes before 4:00, which was its final resting place on the schedule.
They said the school shooting in Florida was why it was canceled. That seems unlikely since a) they’ve had a remarkably stalwart attitude toward shootings in the past, and b) a big school shooting is actually a reason to go out of your way to HAVE the press briefing and not the other way around.
February 14, 2018
Here are the questions they asked her on TUESDAY.
February 14, 2018
Today is Wednesday. Here are the reporter’s questions from MONDAY’s briefing: Continue reading TOWOIT #292: Monday
February 12, 2018
Just minutes ago I left a train car in which a creep aggressively pressed his whole leg against mine, hip to ankle, even though he had a whole empty seat on the other side of him and even though I was struggling and squirming to get a little space between my leg and his — I inched my leg away to get away from that press of contact, and he smashed further into me. Three times. That’s not an accident.
This happens all the time. It happens to nearly every woman. It has happened to me many times. I don’t think I’ve ever ONCE commented on it before. But I am so sick of it. Don’t use your precious balls as an excuse to invade my personal space. I eventually heaved my bag a little so it kind of rammed into his elbow, and he finally moved over, but then he sort of settled himself so his hips and torso were turned toward me, opened his legs wider, and gave a little smirk. He got off at the same stop and stood RIGHT behind me on the escalator. I just wanted to kick him back down the escalator but the people behind him didn’t deserve that.
Anyway, just letting you know that’s the head space I’M in right now as I head into this recap of today’s 18-minute White House press briefing. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was creepy, robotic, and said things like “MERE allegations” and “the president thinks vic- EVERYONE- should get due process.” These people are so dumb they forget the rest of us have reading and listening comprehension. She read her exact script three times, word for word, so we really got it. We got it, Sarah. We got the over tones… we got the under tones. We got the syntax of how looking the other way and absolving abusers was the actual alpha and omega of your statement. When I hear “due process” out of her mouth all I hear is smug comfort taken in people being too afraid to come forward and closets full of unexamined rape kits.
I also wanted to share this tweet from Jay Rosen at NYU:
It’s made me think. I have argued that the briefings ARE worthwhile because the questions matter as much as the answers in any administration, and MORE than the answers in THIS administration. Jay Rosen might be right though, and that’s uncomfortable.
Could reporters do a better job in there? Yes, absolutely. And do the red-meat MAGA crowd use Trump as a way to bludgeon liberals, and do they care more about that than they do about Trump himself? Yes, I really think so.
Still, I think it’s worth it to continue. Even though the reporters in the room skew left and right to varying degrees, most of them still show quite a bit of adherence to the basic principles of journalism. And those basic principles are in direct opposition to the way the Trump White House operates. And having that gap on display, on the record, in publicly available White House transcripts, and on TV — that still matters to me. I’d miss it if it were gone.
I wrote “I’ll miss it when it’s gone” first and then I changed it.
And then I told you that I did that.
I ran out of time and have to go into class now — I’ll update this with my usual haphazard annotation of reporters’ questions when I can.
February 8, 2018
Today Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah spoke to reporters about the Rob Porter scandal and took questions.
I thought it was very odd that Sarah Sanders wasn’t there on such an important day. Raj Shah had never done a briefing before (he did very well at it though). The White House said it was a pre-planned absence, but I think it’s strange.
Adding to the general sense of things being off, the briefing kept scooting later and later into the day. It was first planned for 1:00, then delayed until 2:30. Then, after the reporters had been sitting around for several minutes waiting, a voice came over the loud speaker (also odd-seeming), announcing that the briefing would now be at 3:15. Loud groans erupted.
John Roberts, Fox News TV ready, jumped up and talked to the cameraman while also talking on the phone to the studio. He decided to go out on the North Lawn to do his next on-camera segment before the briefing was scheduled to start. Then the 3:15 time period passed, 3:21, 3:24, 3:27…
At 3:37, Peter Alexander stood up on his little step-stool to do an on-camera with NBC. He could be heard saying, “They gave us the two-minute warning five minutes ago, so they are definitely struggling with something.” Then at the end of his piece he signed off to say, “…the White House Press Briefing, which is expected to start two hours and twenty minutes ago.” The room, which had gone quiet out of courtesy, erupted in laughter.
Then Jim Acosta with CNN went on air and the waiting reporters became even more the story. “The mood in the room —” he said, and then, gesturing around, “— what’s the mood?” and he was greeted with a mix of groans and whoops.
When Raj finally showed up, it was a relief to have him instead of Sarah, for the change. But you do wonder how someone decent-seeming, who you’ve barely had a chance to begin to despise, could debase himself by working for this White House. Raj broke with Trumpian tradition by saying repeatedly that everyone involved on the White House staff could have done some things differently and handled the Rob Porter situation better. Other than that, he was all over the place. It was a smudgy and squidgy spin job, delivered fairly calmly.
Oh, also, Raj Shah used the phrase “The President’s generals” today.
Here are the questions reporters asked Raj Shah.
February 7, 2018
Reporters’ questions for Secretary Mattis at the White House Press Briefing today:
February 6, 2018
To start Tuesday’s press briefing, Acting Assistant AG John Cronan came in and spoke very slowly and dramatically about MS-13, a “brutal gang of savages.”
Reporters’ questions for Cronan:
There’s a scrum here where the reporters are shouting over each other — this feels unusual, but then it’s been a crazy news week with no briefings — and then you hear a woman’s voice say “I’m going to ask, I’m going to ask” and a man saying “OK” and quieting down.
Cronan says, a bit doltishly, “I’m here to talk about MS-13.”
That was it for Cronan.
Cutesy Sarah Huckabee Sanders is so sinister to me. The idea of keeping the briefings SO short and then holding a roomful of reporters hostage while you slowly smarm your way through a child’s letter (This one ended with “P.S. Our pop-pop says that you’re doing a great job. Thank you for keeping us safe.”) — it’s just unconscionable to me. Every day it gets harder and harder not to use gendered insults against her.
MS. SANDERS: I’m sure this will be eventful.
MS. SANDERS: Look, honestly I’m not going to respond directly to Senator Flake’s comments. I don’t really care what Senator Flake has to say. I don’t think his constituents do either, and I think that’s why his numbers are in the tank.
MS. SANDERS: I think that’s something you would have to decide for yourself.
(Uh yeah… we decided.)
MS. SANDERS: And that’s something everybody should be excited about.
(She decides to take one last question after saying April was the last. She calls on John Gizzi who is usually very safe. Before John asks his question a man calls out “What’s unAmerican about disagreeing!?”)
(This was just the diversion she wanted — laughter and jokiness ensued)
As Sarah Huckabee Sanders walked out, something happened that upset me. A man on the side of the room shouted, in a very urgent way, a joke question that was not funny, and was not necessary, and made a mockery out of what the reporters in the room try to do, and he brought April Ryan’s name into it, digging up some beef between April Ryan and Sarah Huckabee Sanders from months ago. April Ryan said “What? I didn’t say anything about that!” And then a few seconds later she just said, “Don’t do that.”
February 5, 2018
Update (Feb. 6) — There was totally a press gaggle with Raj Shah on the plane on the way to Ohio, but the WH hadn’t got it up yet when I looked. And there was a WHPB today–a total shit show. More to follow.
I’ve been covering only the White House Press Briefing because it’s my particular interest and because it’s all I can handle with work and school exploding into more complexity than I was prepared for.
But what the heck, White House? The last briefing was on Monday, January 29. It was a VERY eventful week. The President hasn’t been out of the country. He also hasn’t been answering questions on “press avails” (when the press gets invited in to a room to briefly register that the President is indeed being the President, and then they are all herded back out again).
Is this fear of reporters’ questions? An acceleration of the slow death of the White House Press Briefing as an institution?
I checked the White House website to see whether there were any informal press gaggles that might have flown under the C-span radar. Nope. Nothing.
In the meantime, here’s an oddly subversive-feeling set of tweets from Trey Yingst. Trey’s publication, OANN, is pretty right-leaning. It’s one of the newer, smaller conservative outlets that the Trump administration credentialed to be in the White House briefing room.
But something about these back-to-back tweets quoting the President verbatim saying something dictatorially buffoonish… and then citing verifiably true stock market numbers that aren’t fantastic… (the end of that sentence would something like “…doesn’t feel too blindly propagandic”)
And I did think it was sweet that Trey put his press corps colleagues in his Twitter header photo.
I’m happy to report that I missed the State of the Union yesterday.
There was no White House press briefing yesterday or today, but lots happening–so I went on Twitter to see what the WHPB cast of characters has been saying there.
Margaret Talev gave a sneak preview of the speech.
So I’m learning more and more about how this works. Apparently some reporters had the job of being outside the White House waiting for Trump to get in the car and drive away, and they relay back to the other reporters what’s going on.
John Gizzi live-tweeted the State of the Union, with gusto.
And then retweeted this:
Meanwhile, April Ryan:
Cecilia Vega last night, after she mis-spelled Stephen Miller’s name in a tweet about the
Well, this seems like some misplaced optimism
John Roberts from Fox wrote this:
Lots of nuts-and-bolts reporting about today’s train crash:
Trey Gowdy is retiring from Congress
Margaret Brennan retweeted a story about the Nunes memo
I think this was sarcasm?
And then there’s this matter about the was-going-to be ambassador to South Korea. I’m still confused about it. Mara Liasson retweeted this:
We’ll see if there’s a briefing tomorrow.
January 29, 2018
Andrew McCabe is stepping down or being forced out (one or the other), a hollow SOTU is scheduled, black people should be grateful to Trump, reporters are getting a runaround on the sanctions deadline, and the nationalized 5G network is going over like a lead balloon.
Here are the questions the White House press corps asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the 14 minutes she allotted for Q&A.
January 24, 2018
January 23, 2018
At the top of the January 23 briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Graham-Durbin-Flake bipartisan compromise on immigration is “completely unacceptable” to the President, and would be dead on arrival.
Before the briefing starts in earnest, Gary Cohn (globalist cuck) and H.R. McMaster (earnest yeller) come to the podium to talk about Davos. The big message? The United States is open for business. Also, “The U.S. is pulling back from nothing.”
Highlights of questions asked to Cohn and McMaster:
Reporter questions from the White House press briefing on Monday, January 22, 2018:
January 17, 2018
(SHS said that Trump is not a scripted robot)
Today I’m recording WH reporter questions from yesterday AND today, but I can’t do the whole hour of the medical doctor from yesterday because that’s just too much, and a lot of it going around in circles. After yesterday’s briefing, one of the reporters could be heard saying “It felt like Josh Earnest was back.” Because Josh Earnest–Obama’s last press secretary–used to do long, patient back and forths with reporters, frequently drawing the briefing out past the hour mark. Of course, that’s not really fair, comparing Josh Earnest to Dr. Ronnie Excellent.
For her part, when Sarah H. Sanders took over yesterday she sounded much more like Sean Spicer than usual, with shades of Stephen Miller. Her voice is starting to pitch higher and she’s talking faster. There’s a strain to being the lying mouthpiece of racist idiocy.
Oh my gosh, I just went to whitehouse.gov to get the briefing transcripts and this is the splash page:
Questions they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday: