Ksenija Pavlovic Defied the White House Recording Restrictions That No Major News Org Would

We hope it's a wake-up call

Where we are today: when a recording of a White House briefing that looks like this is an act of defiance.
Headshot of Corinne Grinapol

The White House press briefing dilemma, in which the White House has increasingly relied on off-camera, no-live-recording, no-photograph briefings for a press corps that obliges, is illustrative of a larger and problematic dynamic between the president and the press: an executive branch that continues to flout tradition and protocol, and a press that continues to bind itself to tradition and protocol.

When the White House first began its push last month toward making the briefings more secretive and less public on a regular basis, there was some pushback, like Jim Acosta’s call for a walkout, a session that was captured by a CNN sketch artist, a meeting between the White House Correspondents’ Association and the White House. “We are not satisfied with the current state-of-play, and we will work hard to change it,” wrote WHCA president Jeff Mason at the time. Predictably, there was no walkout. Predictably, the “current state-of-play” went on.

By continuing to attend the briefings and follow the new rules, the press was effectively allowing its own power to be eroded with a momentum that resembled the slow then sudden creep of high tide.

When someone finally defied the ban and recorded a live audio briefing yesterday, it was not someone with a big name and the backing of a large, legacy institution, but Ksenija Pavlovic, a former fellow at Yale University and founder of the eponymous news site Pavlovic Today.

Maybe now other outlets can gain inspiration, and some courage.

Publish date: July 20, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/ksenija-pavlovic-defied-the-white-house-recording-restrictions-that-no-major-news-org-would/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT