Cameras remained off Monday at the White House press briefing on orders of the Trump administration, sidelining one of daytime television’s most popular features on the same day that ABC announced new digital programming tied to it.
The last on-camera White House briefing was on June 29. Following rules set by the White House, news networks only began airing press secretary Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session until after it was done. With still pictures of Spicer onscreen as he talked off-camera, it didn’t make for gripping television. Fox News Channel and MSNBC both broke away to other stories before the session was finished.
ABC News’ The Briefing Room started airing live Monday, with White House correspondents Jonathan Karl and Cecilia Vega, and congressional correspondent Mary Bruce the show’s lead personalities. The network has streamed past briefings online and on Facebook over the past several months; the new program is expected to air each day there is a White House briefing. Without its own affiliated cable network, ABC is looking for different ways to take advantage of its expertise, said Rick Klein, the network’s political director.
“We’re just seeing such huge interest in the story,” Klein said. Klein said ABC, like other television networks, is pushing for the briefings to go back on camera and be shown live.
It’s a sentiment most prominently expressed by CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who last month repeatedly asked Spicer, “Why don’t we turn the cameras on, Sean?” without getting an answer. Acosta, on the air, has complained about the Trump administration “taking us into a strange new world where accountability doesn’t exist.”