CNN Resorts to Sketching White House Press Briefings, Draws Derision

Back to the drawing board?

Last Updated: June 23, 2017 @ 6:05 PM

In response to the White House press team’s troubling habit of refusing to do on-camera press briefings, CNN has found a workaround that also functions as a dry critique: It sent in a courtroom sketch artist.

The images Friday provided a much-needed visual element for CNN, and also highlight the silliness of Trump Administration officials refusing to be seen speaking for the chief executive. (Accountability is important, given the president’s propensity for lying, which is meticulously documented here.)

Asked this week why briefings are being held off-camera, Trump adviser Steve Bannon explained, “Sean got fat,” referring to embattled press secretary Sean Spicer.

It’s great that everyone — or at least Bannon and CNN — have such a great sense of humor about the White House’s latest refusal to be held accountable for the things that come out of its officials’ mouths. But many of CNN’s critics — many of whom are also CNN fans — have another idea for how CNN and other officials could handle the no-cameras order:

By rejecting it.

“Dear @CNN, I don’t want to see drawings by your sketch artist. I want to see you refuse to turn off your cameras when ordered by Trump & Co.,” wrote environmental scientist Peter Gleick.

“The CNN courtroom sketch artist is kind of cutesy ha ha but they could just turn on the camera and dare Spicer to shut them down,” noted liberal writer Oliver Willis.

People on the right didn’t like the sketch idea, either.

“File this one under, ‘no, this not a joke,'” wrote NewsBusters. “For Friday’s off-camera White House press briefing, CNN hired a sketch artist to render images of press secretary Sean Spicer as yet another example of their pathetic meltdowns over the Trump communications team’s decisions about access.”

CNN did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But CNN’s Jim Acosta, one of the biggest critics of the off-camera briefings, also weighed in on Twitter, as did CNN:

It seems like mixed reviews at best for CNN’s art project. Back to the drawing board?

Susan Seager contributed to this story.