According to a Washington Times report, Democrat Rep. Jim Himes has proposed the “Free Press Act’ to mandate two on-camera briefings per week by the White House. His aim is to “increase transparency” within the Trump administration by
Rep. Himes said, “The White House has begun to dramatically, and in an historically unprecedented way, reduce the media and therefore the American people’s access to the thinking of the president, and that’s not healthy.”
“This simple bill achieves two important goals. First, it ensures that the press briefings will continue on a regular schedule. Second, it guarantees the American people have access to the proceedings first hand.”
But could this backfire on the media? Trump’s complaint about the media has been that the information in his press briefings has not been fairly portrayed by a highly biased and liberal media. His comments via Twitter are unfiltered and speak directly to the American people.
The report said that the White House has averaged 2.7 briefings per week, both on- and off-camera. However in the last nine weeks, the number of on-camera briefings has had either one or no televised briefings.
But here is the rub:
If the White House is mandated to provide two televised briefings per week, should the networks be mandated to carry them live? And should the print media be required to print the text verbatim without commentary?
We realize this is grandstanding on the part of Rep. Himes, and the law would be trivial to circumvent if it passes (just read a prepared statement, boring…). However, if Trump’s allies in Congress could require that media must provide the content unfiltered, it would be a major coup for the Trump administration, giving him tremendous control over the narrative.
Never mind that this is ridiculous and likely un-Constitutional. Just a note to the Democrats – be careful what you wish for.