The Trump Administration and the Press

The numbers suggests that the administration isn't too interested in talking.

U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria – RC1D5228DE00

Philip Bump has an interesting bit of analysis in WaPo:  It seems as if maybe the White House doesn’t really want to talk to the press.

The headline is perhaps more tongue-in-cheek than it ought to be, because Bump does an interesting bit of comparison between the end of the Obama administration and the start of the Trump administration to detail that, yes, the current administration is more adverse to the press than was than was the previous.

Take, for example, the following chart:

There are several additional charts in the piece, which I recommend as worthy of a click-through.

I will provide the last bit of data from the piece:

Between January 2016 and Jan. 20, 2017, Earnest spent 11,800 minutes briefing the media, with his deputies adding another 906 minutes. Since late last July, about 10 months, Sanders has spent 2,800 minutes briefing the media, only about four more hours than Spicer spent during his tenure in the White House.

Spicer worked there for four fewer months.

Josh Earnest was Obama’s last press secretary.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    Well, from Trump’s standpoint, and the standpoint of his fans, the press lies about him nonstop, so why should he? That is, of course, pure projection on Trump’s part, because he’ll lie about anything and does so constantly, even when the truth would better serve his own interests.

  2. Todd says:

    I’m not so sure this is a bad thing. Practically everything they say is a lie (or at best misrepresentation) anyway … yet the mainstream media continue to cove the White House press room as if this where a “normal” Presidency.

  3. @Todd: A not unfair point.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    This story is not getting enough attention:

    Donald Trump Says ‘Our Ancestors Tamed a Continent’ and ‘We Are Not Going to Apologize for America’

    Nice way to remove any question of white supremacy.

  5. Kathy says:

    I-m waiting for a response from the White House along the lines of “How Mr. trump conducts the people’s business is none of the people’s business.”

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Trump has no beliefs, no ideas, no thoughts, just slogans and random blurts that are particularly embarrassing when you realize he doesn’t drink. He answers every question with ‘We’ll see,’ because he doesn’t have a clue. Early on he thought in his gold-plated Dunning-Kruger way that he could manage it, but that didn’t go so well. So I’m not at all surprised that he hides from the press. The slow kids in class don’t demand more quizzes.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    Bet Obama didn’t have nearly as many tweets! So there!

  8. TM01 says:

    9,328 of those minutes were just Earnest and the members of the media going back and forth telling each other how awesome Obama is tho.

  9. @TM01: I have been thinking about some of your responses of late, and have mostly decided not to respond. But I ask this: why do think that taunts, quips, or some kind of Obama call-back is useful?

    Do you really think that sticking it to the libs is effective or useful? I am sincerely curious as these days I lament the fact that there does not appear to much in way of Republican defenses that are anything other than taunts and such.

  10. Erik says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I have noticed this approach generally from those that I would consider least able to be objective on the atrump issue. This article, if accurate, suggests to me that this behavior might be about policing the echo chamber by demeaning outside sources and thus reinforcing the unreliability of those sources. It’s an interesting line of thought that comports with other evidence about cognition.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    9,328 of those minutes were just Earnest and the members of the media going back and forth telling each other how awesome Obama is tho.

    Oh you poor victim…if only the meany leftist press would say some good words about your hero…*SNIFFLE*

    …some kind of Obama call-back…

    Well, with that, he is only following in the footsteps of his dear leader…it is amusing and pathetic how much some “conservatives” are obsessed with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton…

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    9,328 of those minutes were just Earnest and the members of the media going back and forth telling each other how awesome Obama is tho.

    Please note that Trump tells everyone how awesome POTUS is every time he opens his pie hole.