Was Monday's White House Press Briefing Worth the 26-Day Wait?
"When you go out once a month, and use it as a forum for attacking the media, then they serve no useful function," said former spokesman Joe Lockhart.
Twenty-six days elapsed between Wednesday, Oct. 3, and this Monday, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave her most recent "daily" press briefing.
Monday's briefing was heavy on media criticism and light on questions, continuing the legacy of her predecessor, former press secretary Sean Spicer.
Her first attack on the media occurred just three minutes and 55 seconds into the briefing, when she lashed out in response to a question from ABC News' White House correspondent Jonathan Karl about President Donald Trump's "tone," and any connection it might have to Saturday's massacre in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs mailed to Democrats around the country.
"The very first thing that the president did was condemn the attacks, both in Pittsburgh and in the pipe bombs," Sanders said. "The very thing the media did was blame the president and make him responsible for these ridiculous attacks. That is outrageous that that would be the very first reaction of so many people across this country."
Was Monday's press briefing, which was announced just hours before it was held, really worth the wait?
"It’s always better to do more briefings than less," former White House press secretary and CNN contributor Joe Lockhart told The Hollywood Reporter. "If you’re out there everyday taking the hard questions, you earn the right to go after the media from time to time. When you go out once a month, and use it as a forum for attacking the media, then they serve no useful function."
Monday's briefing included storylines now familiar to any regular viewer of the events, including a heated clash with CNN chief White House reporter Jim Acosta, who pressed Sanders on whether the president considers Acosta's network an "enemy of the people."
Asked Tuesday whether Monday's briefing was valuable and worth waiting for, Acosta told THR that "the briefings are incredibly important and we should have them more often," adding, "Sometimes the nonanswers are as revealing as the answers."
The White House Correspondents Association has regularly lobbied Sanders and the White House press operation "for more, and longer, briefings," president Olivier Knox said — the more the better, even when the briefings are as unproductive as Monday's.
That view is not shared by many in the media industry. "If Sanders continues to call the press the enemy of the people, the White House press corps should walk out and end coverage of the briefing," Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin said on Twitter.