Spicer allows photographs at off-camera White House briefing

Greg Nash

The White House allowed press secretary Sean Spicer to be photographed Monday at his off-camera press briefing. 

It’s a loosening of recent restrictions on the spokesman’s daily briefing with reporters. Previously, media organizations were not allowed to take photos of the spokesman or broadcast video from the briefing.
“Putting sketch artists out of business now,” Spicer said as he started the briefing, with cameras clicking. 
The joke was a reference to CNN sending its courtroom sketch artist to cover his briefing last week. 
Time magazine reporter Zeke Miller said the change was a product of negotiations with the White House Correspondents’ Association. 

Reporters have been at odds with the White House for the past few weeks as the administration has chosen to restrict news organizations from airing footage of the briefings in real time.

The White House has held 10 off-camera briefings compared to five on-camera ones, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller.

When pressed about the ban on television cameras, Spicer responded, “Some days we’ll have them, some days we won’t.”
He noted that Trump was scheduled to speak in the Rose Garden Monday afternoon with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The president’s going to speak today in the Rose Garden. I want his voice to carry the day,” he said.
The shift from the norm has drawn criticism from Trump allies as well as reporters protesting the decision.

The tensions came to a head at Monday’s briefing, when CNN’s Jim Acosta sparred with Spicer over the lack of television coverage.

When Acosta attempted to shout a question about the healthcare bill to Spicer, Spicer initially ignored him.

“The camera is off, Jim,” said Spicer, who recently accused reporters of trying to make a scene to become “YouTube stars.”

“Why don’t we turn the cameras on?” Acosta replied, later adding, “The cameras are right here.”

Acosta has been a regular critic of the administration’s restrictions on airing press briefings. He referred to Spicer as “just kind of useless” last week. 

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