Major Garrett, the chief White House correspondent for CBS News, sits in the front row. “Historically, the way the briefing room has been organized is, the closer you are, the farther you’ve come,” Garrett said. “And the person at the podium has tended to recognize that.” More experienced reporters, he said, “ask questions that are sharper, more informed. Not, ‘What’s your message today?’ Not, ‘Here’s a paintbrush—would you paint us a pretty picture?’ ” If established reporters got fewer questions relative to the floaters, I asked, would this be good or bad for democracy? “We’ll see,” Garrett said. “We’re engaged in a grand experiment.”A TV correspondent told me that calling on front-row reporters first isn’t just about appealing to their egos: “It’s also about maintaining a sense of predictability, a sense that eventually the substantive questions will be answered. Throwing that into chaos—‘Maybe you’ll get a question, if you shout loud enough, who knows?’—makes everyone desperate and competitive and makes us look like a bunch of braying jackals. Which I don’t think is an accident.”About once a week, the walls behind the lectern are turned inside-out, revealing built-in screens from which reporters around the country can ask questions by video link. This is another Spicer innovation—the “Skype seats.” Recent Skype questions were allotted to a Trump supporter and newspaper owner in Kentucky, who asked about reducing coal-mining regulations, and to a talk-radio host named Lars Larson, who addressed the press secretary, an officer in the Navy Reserve, as “Commander Spicer,” before asking whether the Administration would privatize federally protected parkland. During one of these sessions, Jared Rizzi, a White House correspondent for Sirius XM, tweeted, “Skypeophant (n.) – super-friendly questioner used to burn up briefing time through the magic of early-aughts technology.” “I certainly appreciate the purpose of bringing geographic diversity into the room,” Rizzi told me. “I also appreciate ideological diversity. I don’t appreciate diversity of journalistic practice.”A longtime Washington reporter from a mainstream network echoed that sentiment. “I don’t mind them bringing in conservative voices that they feel have been underrepresented,” he said. “Personally, I don’t even mind them fucking with the front-row guys, the Jonathan Karls of the world. Those guys are a smug little cartel, and it’s fun to watch them squirm, at least for a little while. But at what point does it start to delegitimize the whole idea of what happens in that room? When does it cross the line into pure trolling?”Read the rest of the story here.
New Yorker: White House Press Corps Livid over Trump’s ‘Trolling’ – Breitbart