Breaking Back Into the People's House
Today's hero, Ksenija Pavlovic, for her small act of integrity.
Finally. For months, a prostrate media has maintained an obsequious silence in the face of an onslaught of press restrictions imposed by our obsessively secretive autocrat and his minions. The Trump White House hasn't held an on-camera press briefing since June 29; since then, live audio and video coverage of press briefings has been banned by an administration that nonetheless laughably likes to boast about its "transparency."
There have been moments of isolated resistance: Last month, CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted, "YOUR White House is taking away YOUR right to see and hear YOUR government answer questions today," a fed-up Fox News reporter up and left a briefing earlier this week, the no-video rule has been mocked, and the newly-enlightened Morning Joe co-hosts just likened Trump's babbling interview with the New York Times to "William Faulkner on acid.” Overall, though, the media has meekly followed the rules, neither boycotting nor acting in solidarity to assert their First Amendment rights.
A welcome crack in their compliance appeared at Wednesday's briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders; as usual, it was off-camera even as simultaneously - and bizarrely - media around the world live-streamed O.J. Simpson's parole hearing (he's getting out.) The lone act of press rebellion came in the unlikely person of Ksenija Pavlovic, a former doctoral and teaching fellow at Yale and editor-in-chief of Pavlovic Today, which describes itself as "an American independent voice not beholden to any corporate special interests." Using the video-streaming app Periscope, Pavlovic posted two live audio streams - the first 17 minutes, the second 31 minutes - to her Twitter page.
The audio quality was poor, the news less-than-shattering - Sanders was heard introducing Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, who mumbled to reporters. Still, it was the first instance of a reporter standing up to intolerable restrictions imposed by the Big Orange Bully in our midst, and like prisoners held too long and silently captive, people joyfully rallied in support. Pavlovic was hailed as a patriot, a courageous leader, "the hero this nation needs." Her decision to, essentially, do her job was touted as a vital "act of rebellion"; in spite of her rogue act, noted one headline, "Republic Still Standing." Above all, admirers devoutly wished the rest of a too-submissive media would gather their nerve and emulate her. We do too. "Thank you for your courage," wrote one fan, who then offered a key reminder: "The White House does not belong to Trump, or any president. It is the people's house."
Why we need her, and the rest, to stand up.