The White House further damaged its already strained relationship with the press last week by prohibiting cameras from press briefings, The Huffington Post reports. But that didn't stop CNN from documenting the event. Instead, it led the outlet to get creative.
CNN's Supreme Court sketch artist Bill Hennessy attended Friday's briefing to produce drawings. Cameras are also banned from courtrooms in Supreme Court cases, according to an article by CNN about its own stunt, so the purpose of the sketch is to help the public understand what went on — and these accomplish that.
They tell us, for example, that Sean Spicer was comfortable enough not to hide in the bushes this time. The drawings show him taking questions from the crowd at his podium. In several of them, you can see a video camera that normally records briefings, but it was off. In response to a question about the camera ban, Spicer said, "I think it's great for us to come out here and have a substantive discussion about policies. I don't think that the be all and end all is whether it's on television or not."
After an earlier off-camera briefing on Monday, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta said that "the White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kind of useless," according to The Hill. "If they’re getting to this point where he’s not going to answer questions or go on camera or have audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?"
The White House Correspondents' Association's President Jeff Mason released a statement on Twitter also condemning the video bans. "We believe strongly that Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions from an independent news media, in keeping with the principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government," it reads. According to the statement, Mason met with Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and they're reevaluating the policy.