Among the revelations at Sean Spicer’s first official White House briefing as press secretary was the newly minted administration’s plans to add a quartet of so-called “Skype Seats” to the room beginning this week.
The addition is an attempt to open the traditionally closed-off briefing up to reporters outside of the White House walls. According to Spicer, the rotating seats will be open to reporters 50 miles outside of the Washington D.C. area whose news outlets don’t already have a hard pass to the briefing room.
Spicer, who used one of his first moments of in his current position to take a shot at the press’s reporting of less than stellar inaugural crowds, began the statement with, perhaps a touch of intentional irony, stating, “As you know, we are all about big viewerships and large audiences here so I want to tell you about an effort that we’re undertaking here in the press briefing room to offer up more access to a group of journalists from around the country.”
The press secretary was seemingly quick to cut off the inevitable questions regarding inclusion and precisely how well these VoIPed-in reporters will be vetted by the White House, stating,
[W]e’re excited to open up into the field and fold here, a diverse group of journalists from around the country, who may not have the convenience or funding to travel to Washington. I think this can benefit us all by giving a platform to voices that are not necessarily based here in the beltway.
The four seats could ultimately prove a good opportunity for outside parties to get a crack at one of the world’s most elite bits of press real estate, but given how much pushback the administration has already given the media in the lead up to the inauguration (and every day since), it’s worth keeping an eye on how the White House ultimately divvies things up.