Seven former Presidential press secretaries (Dee Dee Myers, Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart and Jake Siewert from the Clinton administration, Scott McClellan from the Bush administration, and Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney from the Obama administration) wrote a joint letter arguing that the Fourth Reich must resume press briefings because current Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has held [checks notes] none.
Let’s turn to the letter:
All of us have experienced the challenges of a regular press briefing whether at the White House, the State Department or the Pentagon. We all had days where the last place we wanted to be was behind one of those podiums. But day after day, we persisted.
Very brave of you. It was your jobs.
We believed that regular briefings were good for the American people, important for the administrations we served, and critical for the governing of our great country.
High opinion of yourselves. Got it.
We’d like to share what we mean by that. In any great democracy, an informed public strengthens the nation. The public has a right to know what its government is doing, and the government has a duty to explain what it is doing.
We agree with that whole-heartedly, but I would ask you to examine how much or how often what you did was spin the media. How much of your job was to obscure what the Administration was doing.
And it drones on and on with ideals and idealism, and none of that is wrong, but it highlights what the problem actually is: they see their former jobs as an ideal of every boomers’ favorite teevee show, Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, and not the reality.
The job is snake oil salesman to the rubes who buy it.
3-olives Grisham, with all of her well-documented problems and corruption replied to Axios’ morning email thingie:
This is group think at its finest. The press has unprecedented access to President Trump yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV. They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment. This President is unorthodox in everything he’s done, he’s rewritten the rules of politics. His press secretary and everyone else in the administration is reflective of that.
In terms of the former press secretaries — they can publicly pile on all they want. It’s unfortunate, because I’ve always felt I was in this small club of only 29 others who really know what I deal with each day, and that was always comforting. They may not say it publicly, but they all understand why I do things differently. They know I have three roles. They know my boss has probably spoken directly to the press more than all of theirs did combined. They know the press secretary briefs in the absence of the President, and this President is never absent — a fact that should be celebrated.
Because she knows the game, she gives them the spin that they would give if the roles were reversed:
Like so many trailblazers, history will look back on this Presidency with praise — until then, I’m comfortable with how I do my jobs – and my team and I are always available to the press.
The sad truth is that we are probably better informed without daily press briefings from the Fourth Reich than we were with them.
The news is not “What did Prznint Stupid say?” The news is what did Stupid do. What is his actual record? Every time our Stable Jenius opens his gob it is NOT news.
Our failed political press amplifies all of the empty words of this very empty man.
Instead of breathlessly covering his lies in real time (and they did the 15 — 20-minute empty podium thing AGAIN this past week waiting for a statement on Iran–did anyone else notice that?), they should wait till the evening broadcast and cover his actions. And they can add at the end of the broadcast a highlight reel of the new lies, now fact-checked.
I think that the real issue that these former press secretaries have is that Grisham is laying bare how completely unimportant the role actually is.