It’s time for a fresh start for White House media relations

July 21, 2017 04:30

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force was gratified to hear new White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pledge today to be “open, honest, and transparent” when dealing with journalists.
 
Sanders assumed the post within hours after former Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned, and President Trump named Anthony Scaramucci his new communications director.
 
During her first daily press briefing as press secretary, which was held on camera, unlike many of those conducted by her and her predecessor so far during the Trump administration, Sanders told the White House press corps:
 
I think [speaking for the President] it’s probably one of the – certainly professionally – one of the greatest honors that any person could ever have, to work in any capacity within this building, and to get to do that up here in such a public way and speak on behalf of the President is absolutely an honor and something I will cherish and hope to do my very, very best every single day and be as open, honest, and transparent with you all as humanly possible, and will always work to operate at the highest level and certainly with the most amount of integrity as you can.
 
Sanders’ new boss, Scaramucci, also appeared in the White House briefing room today and said it would be his intention to be truthful with reporters.
 
“We are pleased to receive commitments from the two highest-ranking members of the White House communications staff that they will be ‘open’ and ‘honest’ with journalists,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Incoming Executive Director, who spearheads the task force. “However, it remains to be seen whether those pledges will be kept, and we will continue to monitor this administration’s level of transparency and speak out to defend press freedom and access whenever necessary.”
 
Today’s briefing was the first to be held on camera since June 29. The task force has, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for all White House daily briefings to be on camera. It also urges the President to hold more formal press conferences.
 
“While we advocate on behalf of journalists, especially broadcast and digital journalists, the real beneficiaries of on-camera briefings and presidential press conferences are the American people,” Shelley said. “They have the right to know what their elected officials and public servants in the White House are doing.”
 
RTDNA formed the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. People wishing to support RTDNA’s efforts may reach out to the task force by emailing pressfreedom@rtdna.org.