A newly introduced bill in the House of Representatives would require the White House to hold televised press briefings—a clear rebuke at the Trump administration scaling back the traditional way in which the executive branch answers questions from American’s media.
The “Free Press Act of 2017,” or H.R. 3228, would require the White House to hold at least two televised press briefings each week. It was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on July 13.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who introduced the bill, said he hoped the bill would help keep the public informed about what the executive branch was doing, according to Huff Post.
“The White House has begun to dramatically, and in a historically unprecedented way, reduce the media and therefore the American people’s access to the thinking of the president. And that’s not healthy. So now is the time,” Hines said, according to the website.
The bill comes as the White House has continued to hold televised press briefings at an infrequent rate. The administration has also frequently barred media outlets from broadcasting briefings. The moves have been criticized by press organizations as an affront on government transparency.
It is no secret that President Donald Trump, and his administration, are not fond of the American media—frequently referring to stories they do not like as “fake news.” During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump routinely called out reporters he didn’t like, rallying his supporters against the news media.
Just last month, a televised White House press briefing became heated as Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders bashed so-called “fake news” and even encouraged the public to watch unsubstantiated videos claiming to show a CNN producer calling the station’s Russia coverage “mostly bullshit.”
Soon, Brian Karem, a reporter in the White House press corps, said Sanders was “inflaming” Trump supporters and reporters in the room.