In normal times, White House press briefings make for boring television. Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, and Josh Earnest, the three generic-looking white guys who served as successive press secretaries under President Barack Obama, could walk unmolested through the streets of most American cities. Only on rare occasions was a clip from one of their briefings—for example, a testy exchange between Carney and Jonathan Karl, of ABC News, debating the logistics of Obamacare enrollment—remarkable enough to make headlines.President Trump seems to have no tolerance for boring television. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, now a recurring character on “Saturday Night Live,” is often tongue-tied, enraged, or both. Spicer’s briefings, broadcast live on c-span, are among the most highly rated programs on daytime TV, beating out “General Hospital” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” On major networks, many hours are devoted to nightly exegeses of Spicer’s serial self-contradictions, and to Sunday-morning sermons about how he is imperiling the First Amendment. On YouTube, accounts with names such as Trump Mafia and Based Patriot repost Spicer’s briefings, and others post exultant compilations of the “spiciest” moments, overlaying his rebukes of reporters with images of flames and chili peppers.The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, in the West Wing, has seven rows of seven seats. The Associated Press, Reuters, and the biggest TV networks have reserved seats in the front row; blogs like Politico and Real Clear Politics are near the middle; BuzzFeed and the BBC are in the back. The seating chart is the purview of the White House Correspondents’ Association, an independent board of journalists who, with the sombre secrecy of a papal conclave, assess news organizations according to factors such as regularity of coverage and centrality to the national discourse.
Is Trump Trolling the White House Press Corps? – The New Yorker