Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck pours a bottle of whine in a Jan. 28 post:
On Monday, the White House held its first press briefing in 41 days, a stat passed around the press about how it was the longest span between briefings since cameras were brought in during the Clinton administration.
Despite this kvetching, CNN and MSNBC chose not to air a single second of the briefing live, which included an announcement of new Venezuela sanctions plus questions for National Security Adviser John Bolton, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Council of Economic Advisers head Larry Kudlow and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The briefing began at 3:33 p.m. Eastern and the Fox News Channel immediately went to it during Your World, but CNN Newsroom aired two tape-delayed soundbites on the Venezuela sanctions before moving on.
Meanwhile, MSNBC Live featured hosts Katy Tur and Ali Velshi joking sarcastically about briefings with Velshi wondering to Tur if she remembers what those were. Velshi later insisted MSNBC was standing by for it, but like CNN, they didn’t air it aside from a brief soundbite of Bolton announcing the sanctions.
So to be clear, these two liberal cable outlets have long suggested that the President was eroding American press freedoms. But when it came to the news media allowing viewers to decide things for themselves, the former thinks they should be in charge of what the latter sees.
But as Houck seems to concede, the only actual news from the press briefing was the announcement of the Venezuela sanctions, and he further concedes that both CNN and MSNBC reported on that soon after the announcement was made, showing that they were, in fact, monitoring the briefing and not ignoring it. He does not explain, however, why that was so newsworthy that it demanded to be aired live, beyond the increasing rarity of such briefings. He also does not explain why all channels must air it live if Fox News was already doing so.
Houck doesn't seem to understand that the lack of White House press briefings erodes press freedoms whether or not a given news organization chooses to air them live. Did Houck and/or the MRC ever attack Fox News if they refused to air a press briefing from the Obama White House live and in its entirety? Not that we can recall.
As the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, CNN and MSNBC were acting like genuine news organizations by making an editorial decision not to air the presser live:
There is, in fact, no contradiction in a news network pushing for White House briefings and then declining to carry them live. Even as CNN and MSNBC were airing other material Monday, their correspondents were in the briefing room seeking answers to their questions. Later on, if real answers actually materialize, they can air the footage, an approach that matches the prescription of two former White House press secretaries. It’s a fair approximation of journalism.
Of course, Houck and the MRC do not actually want to see a "fair approximation of journalism" -- they want ceaselessly fawning coverage of the Trump administration.