Journalist Jim Acosta, the senior White House correspondent for CNN, was among those expressing alarm and frustration on Monday after the White House held a press briefing that barred the use of both audio and video recordings.
"I don't know why everybody is going along with this," Acosta said on air after the closed briefing with Sean Spicer, with Trump's press secretary. "It just doesn't make any sense to me. It just feels like we're sort of slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the president of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions."
"I don't know what world we're living in right now" he added.
Trump has previously threatened to stop holding press briefings entirely and the White House communications team have previously held audio-only gaggles. Monday, however, was the first briefing in which reporters were forbidden from airing even audio recordings of what was said.
Such rules, complained Acosta, make the questions and answer sessions "basically pointless at this point."
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Later, Acosta's colleague at CNN, Brian Stelter, said that criticism of the White House has grown as access has been steadily rolled back. "Inch by inch by inch," he said, "the Trump administration is rolling back press access."
Inch by inch by inch, the Trump administration is rolling back press access. Less info for the public. https://t.co/S0pvDumO8A— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 19, 2017
Journalists at CNN were far from the only ones expressing dismay:
A Republican on the phone with me says as it relates to the White House Briefing, this is "the erosion of democracy"— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) June 19, 2017
In what's become an increasingly common trend, the White House press briefing today will be an off-camera, not for broadcast gaggle.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 19, 2017
Exclusive live feed of today's secretive White House briefing. pic.twitter.com/4AN8sLzXHZ— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) June 19, 2017