The exchanged continued later in the briefing when Spicer refused to answer whether the White House would continue to have limited televised press availabilities.
On Tuesday, Spicer said “We have a tremendous respect for the First Amendment”, and that the daily briefing is just “one aspect of what we do”.
“We’ll see, we’ll just – we’ll continue to mix things up”, responded Spicer.
Spicer, in a Fox News interview over the weekend, said Acosta is “sad that he believes if it doesn’t occur on TV – I think some of these reporters are more interested in their YouTube clips than they are in getting factual news”. He even said that if the media is not being able to record or broadcast the briefings, then it is pointless to even attend such briefings. “And so we look forward to hearing what they have on their minds and figuring out what we can do to finally replace and repeal Obamacare”.
The White House has held 10 off-camera briefings and five on-camera briefings during the month of June, according to a tweet by CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller. Acosta tried to interrupt again, with Spicer attempting to move on.
“Maybe we should turn the cameras on Sean”. Acosta said. “Why not turn the cameras on? They’re in the room, the lights are on”.
In fact, the only apparent explanation for the off-camera shift comes from White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who told The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray in a text message, “Sean got fatter”. “I’m not sure any law would be broken if the the cameras were turned on surreptitiously”, Dalglish said.
Later, a reporter asked about the “drastic shift” in the way briefings are handled as reporters piled on Spicer.
White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason met with Press Secretary Sean Spicer late last week to protest the changes and to urge a return to the previous status quo. They may do well to find a replacement with significant credibility within the media – someone who can act more as a bridge between the White House and the press corps in order to more expertly navigate the waters.
Now, it’s of course possible that in his 140-character-limit tirade in defense of the free press, Acosta meant to tweet “only conservatives” – which would be a still-untrue, but slightly more reasonable, statement to make.