308 days have passed since the last White House Daily Press Briefing.
13 former aides to bipartisan presidential administrations - including 7 White House press secretaries - penned an open letter to the Trump administration’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, calling for the return of normalcy.
Important: The current WH Press Secretary has never held an official press briefing, but can be found on your nearest FOX news talk show. She makes $183,000 a year, paid by US taxpayers, but won’t answer tough questions for the US taxpayers.
While the President heightens tensions with Iran and an impending Impeachment trial looms, the White House Correspondents Association recently voiced their frustration when Saudi press releases informed them of Trump’s meeting with the country’s defense minister. “A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over,” Jonathan Karl, the association’s president, said in a statement.
What else they’re saying: “For the president and the administration this is a matter of both self-interest and national interest. The presidents we served believed a better-informed public would be more supportive of the president's policy and political objectives.
And a well-informed citizenry would be better equipped to understand the difficult choices and decisions presidents must make, especially in times of crisis and challenge. Bringing the American people in on the process, early and often, makes for better democracy,” stated the 13 former press secretaries, foreign service and military officials.
Why this matters: Hearing from your elected officials is essential to their accountability, healthy dialogue and an informed citizenry. The “official guidance” of the government ensures a singular voice from a government that often contradicts itself. That guidance is evermore important during times of heightened international crisis (i.e Iranian actions, Australian wildfires, Brexit), informing the US public and our allies. White House Press Briefings were once the bedrock of democratic norms in the United States, but are now ignored for the informal and unchallenged alternative, Twitter.
The point: Your taxpayer dollars are paying for Grisham to avoid the spotlight, thus ignoring any thought-provoking questions and hurting the American public.
Digital Democrat’s Solution: Simple. In the Digital Age, each citizen should have immediate access to the White House’s on-the-record answers about issues at home and abroad. Going further… While distrust of media institutions and government officials is at an all-time high, nonpartisan committees and federal grants should work together to nominate high-quality and local journalism across the United States.