The Washington Post’s media critic went into meltdown after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders held a mock press briefing for the children of White House journalists and employees on Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Erik Wemple, the newspaper’s chief media critic, slammed Sanders and the White House for organizing a fun day on Thursday for junior would-be journalists, while not holding an actual press conference for the record number of days.
Wemple wrote that Sanders gave to children an important lesson of “the centrality of nonaccountability mechanisms in the affairs of state” after she announced that the mock press briefing was “off the record.”
“When the children head home tonight, perhaps they can pull up archival footage to see how their questions stack up against ye olde press briefings,” he added.
"Accordingly, Sanders was doing more than just providing a fun interlude for the kids; she was headlining a reenactment, anchoring a bona fide historical site.”
“Tuesday, after all, marked a record for number of days without a White House press briefing. Accordingly, Sanders was doing more than just providing a fun interlude for the kids; she was headlining a reenactment, anchoring a bona fide historical site.”
While some correspondents praised the White House for doing “a lot of work to welcome the children and provide “them an excellent experience,” other journalists echoed Wemple’s criticism and pointed out that Sanders hasn’t held a press briefing in over 40 days.
“Kids of WH Press Corps members are getting ready for a briefing with @PressSec. Their parents have not had one in 45 days,” tweeted CBS News’ White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang.
“The irony of it is that they’re pretending that the White House press briefing is a thing, and they’re pretending that this is how the White House operates, but this is not at all how the White House operates … It’s a relic of an earlier time,” another correspondent quoted by the Post said.
“The irony of it is that they’re pretending that the White House press briefing is a thing, and they’re pretending that this is how the White House operates, but this is not at all how the White House operates … It’s a relic of an earlier time.”
The Post struck a different tune in a column earlier this year, which declared that despite the administration's criticism of the media, President Trump was “extremely accessible.”
Wemple quoted Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, who said that Trump held 338 “short question-and-answer” sessions over his time in office, significantly more than 75 such sessions by former President Barack Obama during his first full two years in office.
In terms of total instances of access to the media, which include interviews, short sessions, and news conferences, Trump was accessible least 577 times in his first two years in office.