CNN’s Brian Stelter Laments Conservative Radio Hosts Being Allowed to Ask Questions at WH Press Briefings

CNN’s Brian Stelter’s stated reason for lamenting the inclusion of conservative radio hosts is that it takes time away from journalists’ asking questions about actually important issues. You know, like D.C. Metro’s ridership numbers on Inauguration Day. Or how big the crowd was in comparison to Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

The White House press secretary Sean Spicer had announced in his first official press briefing that they would be including “skype seats” for those around the country – like local reporters and radio hosts – who want to participate.

But not everyone is happy with that level of inclusion. According to Stelter, the journalists on the ground their in the press briefing room have “seniority.” They should be the ones given exclusive rights to shape the news narratives. Here’s what Stelter had to say in an interview with fellow CNN pundit Wolf Blitzer:

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Let’s talk about these press briefings themselves. Jim Acosta raised the issue — they’re a bit more produced with special guests, Skype questions, timing. What’s your take? 

BRIAN STELTER, CNN: Not to be the pessimist here, but it is beneficial to have local reporters weighing in asking questions. It does, however, take away time from the journalists who are in the room, who spend every single day covering these foreign and domestic issues for the entire country. 

One downside of these Skype questions is that they’re bringing in conservative talk radio show hosts as well. They certainly have a role to play. Conservative talk radio show hosts like Dale Jackson who asked a question from Alabama certainly have an important role to play in the media ecosystem but when you’re having questions from people like that, you’re not getting as many questions about important domestic and foreign policy matters. 

So there’s just a tension here, back and forth. I think Spicer wrapped up pretty early today. He was not asked about that Bowling Green Massacre mistake by Kellyanne Conway, said that on MSNBC yesterday. She’s not apologized for it and Spicer did not follow-up. 

But I agree with your guest, the importance here of establishing a baseline about the unemployment numbers and the jobs figures. The fact that this White House seems to be agreeing with the numbers and not disputing them, not trying to challenge them, is significant. The president woke up and tweeted a whole lot of things, a whole lot of wild things this morning. And there was barely any time to follow-up about that in this briefing today. Yes, it’s a relatively normal day as David was saying but we’re still seeing a lot of disruption on a daily basis, via the president’s Twitter account.

Regarding Kellyanne Conway’s statement on the Bowling Green ‘massacre,’ she did clarify on Twitter that she meant to say Bowling Green terroristsIt was a slip-up. It happens. She corrected it.

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