The White House should just kill the daily briefing, put it out of its misery. It's stupid. And embarrassing. And frankly, pointless.
Here's a sample exchange from Tuesday's sad briefing.
White House spokesman: "If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolutely tirade from a lot of people in this room. But news outlets get to go on day after day and site unnamed sources, use stories without sources."
Reporter: "Damn it! Come on! You're inflaming everybody right here, right now with those words. This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heavens!"
If that seems a tad uncivil, a departure from the old, stiff and formal exchanges at the White House, that's because the above "reporter" was — is — the White House correspondent for Playboy.
Yes, Playboy, the nudie magazine from the 1950s that banned nudies in the the 2000s to embrace feminism but then went back to nudies 'cuz, you know, there's no money in non-nudies, has sent a "correspondent" to the White House, and he's an angry little man.
"Any one of us, right, are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us," the Playboy reporter said. "You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There’s no option other than that. We’re here to ask you questions, you’re here to provide the answers, and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, see, once again, the President is right and everybody else out here is fake media. And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job."
Well, he IS the Playboy correspondent so he should know.
Things are going downhill fast. On Monday, the briefing was held off camera. The vaunted press corps was in a tizzy over it — CNN's Jim Acosta had to have his diaper changed three times that morning. And Acosta demanded answers in the camera-less briefing, repeatedly asking "Why don't we turn the cameras on?"
White House spokesman Sean Spicer needled Acosta, saying: "There's no camera on, Jim."
And therein lies the point. Acosta — like nearly all of the mainstream media that populate the 49 reserved seats in the White House briefing room — just want a chance to berate someone from the Trump administration. They want to be seen on their soapbox, not engaged in a civil exchange of ideas, but "giving it to the man."
And that's exactly what Playboy said after their little angry man with the slack tie and receding hairline had gone on a tirade about freedom of the press.
Yes, "giving 'em hell," because, in today's world, that's what reporters are supposed to do (well, to Republicans, anyway. When Barack Obama was actually persecuting the media, putting them in jail, the same reporters didn't make a peep). The Playboy reporter was doing what George W. Bush called "peacocking" — preening for the cameras and strutting his stuff in hopes of drawing attention.
Later, Playboy tweeted this out:
Now, it's just embarrassing. When Playboy is standing up for freedom of the press — when little Brian Karem is lecturing the White House about the Constitution — it's time for the briefing to die.
For the record, Karem was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to talk about his "strong" stance. But now he was ID'ed as "executive editor, Sentinel newspapers." No more Playboy for him.
It doesn't matter. He's a star now. And for those networks out there who want to book him, call his newly hired agent.