Former CNN CEO: White House Should Have Less On-Camera Briefings, ‘Everybody Performs’


Former CNN CEO and TIME managing editor Walter Isaacson said Wednesday on MSNBC that the public would be better served if there were less on-camera White House press briefings.

"How important is it—or unimportant—the White House doesn't have on-camera briefings and doesn't have daily briefings, and we certainly don't have them at the State Department anymore?" host Andrea Mitchell asked.

"You know, I'm going to say something that's heretical. I think the on-camera briefings could be cut back," said Isaacson, who is currently president of the Aspen Institute.

"I think it's really good to have off-camera, people discussing things, some for the print press even if it's not on camera," he continued. "I think on camera, everybody performs."

"The jousting with the press secretary done on camera doesn't really get us that far to understanding things better," Isaacson said.

Fellow interviewee Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of the Atlantic, suggested once-a-week press conferences with President Donald Trump, which Isaacson also endorsed.

"Then I think background briefings for an hour or two," Isaacson added, "where people actually tell the truth from the White House [and] the press, instead of trying to joust on camera."

Today, Isaacson's former network has led the charge in pushing the White House to increase the number of on-camera briefings. CNN's Jim Acosta battled with White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday, interrupting to demand that cameras be turned on.

Alex Griswold

Alex Griswold   Email Alex | Full Bio | RSS
Alex is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a writer for Mediaite and The Daily Caller. He is originally from Buffalo, New York, but regrettably now lives in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at

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