- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2017

The president of the group representing the White House press corps said Friday that journalists are “not satisfied” with a move by the Trump White House to scale back on the frequency of televised press briefings.

White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason met Thursday with White House press secretary Sean Spicer and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to urge them not to replace on-camera press briefings with off-camera question-and-answer sessions. Mr. Mason said they “agreed to consider” the group’s request.

“We are not satisfied with the current state-of-play, and we will work hard to change it,” Mr. Mason said.

The White House in recent weeks has cut back on the frequency of televised press briefings, after President Trump said he favors eliminating the sessions altogether. Mr. Trump and his advisers are unhappy with the negative tone of the press briefings on issues such as investigations into possible collusion with Russia and possible obstruction of justice in the president’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey.

The White House believes the televised briefings are interfering with Mr. Trump’s ability to get his message out daily about his agenda.

Mr. Mason, a correspondent for Reuters, said the WHCA’s position is clear.

“We believe strongly that Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions from an independent news media, in keeping with the principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government,” he told members.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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