The Trump administration’s long-demonstrated hostility towards the media has led to a discontinuation of the daily White House press briefings that have long been a regular feature of previous presidencies.
The current Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has never held a daily press briefing since she assumed the position last June, and the last of the infrequent briefings by her predecessor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was held on March 11th of last year.
Even before the disastrous White House media response to the Iran crisis — where more information was delivered to the public through Twitter than through a forum where journalists could ask pertinent questions of government and military officials — people were wondering exactly why their tax dollars were being used to pay for the salary of a White House Press Secretary who appeared to be shirking the main responsibilities of her position.
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Now, in the wake of the Oval Office’s confused and inadequate media response to Iran’s retaliatory attacks on a U.S. military base in Iraq, Grisham is coming under even heavier criticism as being inadequate and unqualified for her role as Donald Trump’s primary spokesperson.
Yesterday, when CNN reported that Trump was preparing to make an evening address to the nation about the attacks and the status of our hostilities with Iran, Grisham — rather than providing further information about the rapidly developing situation — chose instead to lash out at the cable news network for reporting inaccurate information.
“This is not true – was never true – & no one even attempted to confirm with the press office before tweeting. In a race to be first to break news, the public once again falls victim to irresponsible ‘reporting’ by CNN,” Grisham said of CNN‘s reporting.
The response to the Press Secretary’s statement was brutal with calls for Grisham to do her job and communicate to the press what was actually happening rather than playing gotcha games with media over the White House’s shifting plans.
Two noted authors — Stephen King and Don Winslow — were so outraged by the bunglings and inadequacies of Grisham’s performance during this time of crisis that they each offered to give $75, 000 to charity in her name if she would simply do her job and hold a press briefing for the full White House press corps this week.
Winslow — the best selling, Raymond Chandler Award-winning crime and mystery novel writer — was the first to make the offer.
It has been 301 days since The White House held a press briefing.
I will donate $75,000 to @StJude in your name if you will hold a one hour press conference *this week* with the full White House Press Corps.
What are you afraid of Stephanie?
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) January 8, 2020
After Winslow’s taunting tweet, the renowned master of horror and supernatural fiction Stephen King offered to match his fellow author’s bounty.
I’ll match that, making $150,000. But full press corps. https://t.co/ToewY1Qr5J
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 8, 2020
At the time of the writing of this article, Grisham has neither responded to the author’s challenge nor held a press conference, although Trump did manage to sniff his way through a 10-minute televised address to the nation about the current situation with Iran.
Typically, he took no questions from the press afterward.
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Original reporting by Bob Brigham at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.