Spicer: White House reporters trying to be 'YouTube stars'

Spicer: White House reporters trying to be 'YouTube stars'
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White House press secretary Sean Spicer went after reporters complaining about the limited number of on-camera news briefings recently, saying many of them “want to become YouTube stars.” 

"There’s a lot of them that want to become YouTube stars and ask some snarky question that’s been asked eight times,” Spicer said Wednesday during an interview with conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham.

“There is a bit of snarkiness now with the press, because, again, a lot of them are more focused about getting their clip on air than they are of actually taking the time to understand an issue,” he added. 

The comments reveal Spicer’s frustration with criticism from media outlets about the level of press access and transparency provided by President Trump’s White House. 

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Spicer has made just seven appearances before the press since the president returned from his foreign trip three weeks ago. His Tuesday briefing was his first formal, on-camera briefing in eight days. 

The top spokesman — who is now also filling in as communications director — has held an increasing number of briefings off camera and has also left briefing duties more frequently to his deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 

The shift has fueled speculation about Spicer’s future behind the lectern. Ingraham was mentioned as a potential successor to Spicer in a Politico report this week. 

Asked whether his role will change, Spicer said at Tuesday’s briefing, “I’m still here.”

Both spokespeople have been less than willing to answer questions about the president’s thinking on issues such as Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, the Senate GOP healthcare plan and climate change. 

“So the White House press secretary is getting to a point … where he’s just kind of useless,” CNN’s Jim Acosta said during an appearance on his network Monday. 

“You know, if he can’t come out and answer the questions and they’re just not going to do this on camera or audio, why are we even having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place?”

Spicer defended the White House’s decision not to allow TV networks and radio stations to air video and audio of the briefings, saying some outlets had violated guidance on their usage on previous occasions. 

He also said the off-camera setting has a side benefit, from the White House’s perspective. 

"The nice thing about turning the cameras off sometimes, and I find this, is that it is not 'performance art,' as you call it, that you end up having, I think sometimes, a more substantive discussion about actual issues because they’re not trying to get their clip,” Spicer said. 

“They’re not trying to figure out, 'How do I get on TV? How do I ask some snarky question?' You can actually focus on the substance of the issues."