The White House reporters’ commentary comes whether you want it or not.
Even if you tried just watching C-SPAN for a raw viewing of another brief, there’s no question that during President Donald Trump’s press conference on Tuesday, you would have still heard a reporter’s summary: “Well, that was weird as (expletive).”
Another reporter said it was “one of the stranger” briefings, as a C-SPAN hot mic picked up the sound after Trump left the room. His press briefing was a statement on the stock market that lasted just over a minute. He took no questions for the third consecutive time. Trump has not taken questions since Election Day.
It was emblematic of Trump’s strained relations with the press for four years, as he calls their reporting “fake news” and reporters become more apt to deliver commentary with coverage.
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta retweeted multiple accounts’ recap of the press conference moment but did not identify himself as the speaker. Last week, he said on CNN, “After January 20, he (Trump) just goes back to being another crackpot on the Internet.” In 2018, Acosta’s press credential was revoked when he would not let go of the pool microphone as he asked Trump a follow-up question.
Even a frequent adversary, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, expressed some empathy for how reporters cover Trump. “The way they question President Trump at some of these press conferences is just—I’ve never heard that tone with the president,” Cuomo said.
Another media hot mic moment occurred recently when Republican attorney Cleta Mitchell disputed election results on Fox News. Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said, “What? What is happening? … We’ve called it.”
CSPAN’s and Fox News’ hot mic moments really are interchangeable comments.