Target: Josh Earnest, Former White House Press Secretary
Goal: Protect freedom of the press by demanding all accredited media organizations have access to White House press briefings.
Earlier this year, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press briefing that was not televised and occurred privately in his office. A number of media outlets were not allowed access to the briefing, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, BBC News and The Guardian.
This incident was reported on by several news organizations as unprecedented in modern American politics. It heightened concerns regarding the negative relationship that the new Trump administration has with the press. Contributing to this concern is the fact that Secretary Spicer, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Donald Trump himself have all given statements to the press in recent months that have been found to be false.
Journalists and media outlets provide a vital connection between the American government and the public it serves. To block certain media outlets from press briefings while allowing access to a select few organizations undermines freedom of the press and the role of journalism in a democracy.
Dear Mr. Earnest,
Recently, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a private, untelevised news briefing with media outlets he and other White House staff had personally selected. Spicer blocked several credentialed, respected media outlets from the briefing, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico and BBC News.
This decision was unprecedented in modern White House history and served only to reinforce the idea that Trump’s administration has a negative opinion of the media and a desire to exert control over the way the administration is covered in the press. To block accredited media from a press briefing, while allowing hand-picked outlets access to information, is to undermine the important relationship between the U.S. government and the public it serves. It suggests that the Trump administration respects only certain media outlets and hopes to alienate others.
I ask that you use your platform as a former White House press secretary to publicly condemn this behavior, demand that this administration allow all credentialed journalists access briefings, and emphasize the importance of open communication between the Trump administration and the American public. Freedom of the press, including access to government affairs and information, is crucial to the foundation of American democracy. I urge you to take a public stand against this encroachment on media freedom.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Pete Souza