How To Stop Leaks And Still Inform The Media

May 16, 2017

President Trump is attempting to plug the leaks from the White House in ways that make absolute sense: acting quickly and decisively, before many people have a clue of what he’s planning to do; and at the same time, keeping his inner circle very small. But that also makes it challenging to bring the staff up to speed in time for daily press briefings. So Trump muses about doing away with the daily briefing. And the press goes crazy.

What we have now is an obligatory three-ring circus every afternoon, with reporters playing the hungry lions and tigers who would like nothing more than to eat the elephants (GOP) in the center ring. They love the smell of blood so much that they can “detect” it even when it’s not there, and they’ll swallow anything that can be torn into pieces and squeezed to fit into their own narrative. To take the analogy even further –- sorry –- the communications specialists are the tightrope walkers, performing without a net above the lions and tigers. Come to think of it, maybe they’re the ones getting shot out of a cannon; that metaphor may be even more apt.


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In the media’s ideal world, Trump can’t win no matter what he does –- either he continues the status quo and the leaks continue, or he changes it and gets accused of lacking transparency. I’s easy to see why Trump might want to do away with this animal act. Ringling Bros. did that. But they turned out to be in a can’t-win situation as well.

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Comments 1-10 of 10

  • Glenn Richardson

    05/17/2017 11:57 AM

    I firmly believe in Freedom of the Press. However, far to many members of the press have forgotten a simple rule. They want to be treated with respect and this also implies the speaker should be treated with respect. In recent years the press has taken on the persona of a rogue crowd that shows no respect for the speaker, the office the speaker might hold. This all began, in my opinion, with Dan Rather's efforts to "cross exam" the President of the United States. Press briefings have become empowered by those that have taught journalism in our universities to the point that the needs briefings have become a shouting match beginning with each reporter shouting for attention. Sadly, this type behavior has now found its way to town hall meetings and speakers on college, university and even high schools where speakers are shouted down. This results in a lose-lose situation. I believe the President is correct in his assessment that questions need to be as thoughtful as the answer. One way to do this is to, as one does when beginning a speech or presentation, its purpose and that questions need to be written with the expectation that a cogent response can be obtained from the speaker. Gotcha questions, or most often disguised attacks on the speaker, serve no useful purpose except to attempt to embarrass the speaker or more often the questioner as when President Reagan had the parting shot at Mondale which basically ended Mondale's campaign to become President.

  • John Westman-Barth

    05/17/2017 07:33 AM

    I don't think the press briefings should stop but they should keep on subject. If the briefing is about a meeting with Isreal we don't really need questions about unrelated matters and it's unfair, as the person giving the briefing may not have the relevant information to accurately answer the question. Furthermore, I'd love to see the press briefing include a couple regular citizens... just grab a couple folks doing the White House tour or something and let them have the first questions too. Real questions from real Americans! Now, their questions could be about whatever they want because they're real citizens with real problems.

  • John & Jamie Lafollette

    05/17/2017 05:59 AM

    This is like a civil war. Every war is fought differently. In this war, Republicans get shot at by the left. But the Republicans don't shoot back. Instead all they do is look surprised. And then they write letters to the editor. But they don't fight back. They just write opinion letters. Meanwhile the nation goes to crap, the presidency is trashed, and thousands of people burn in crematoriums. We need Republicans to shoot back for a change.

  • dorothy badger

    05/16/2017 10:55 PM

    Mr. Huckabee,

    i don't know where else to put this, so your comment section drew the short straw

    i have spent a bit of time today calling rep senators.....all of them, not just those from my state - i will continue down the list tomorrow

    someone close to the president, and both houses of congress, needs to help them with their messaging - the president needs stay focused on his agenda, and not let the liberals be successful in their distraction tactics - trusted/loyal people like you and his communications staff need to respond to all the swirling sensational allegations that are the hurricane he is in the middle of - he is fighting this completely alone

    the congress needs to start speaking out and defending him - the dems are good at it when it's one of their own - but the reps haven't learned the skill - they can tweet, facebook, or call a presser with 10-20 of them, and show some support - and it's high time they started working with him to understand his agenda, and help him find the best way to accomplish it with all the constraints of the laws - he needs to feel like he has help - we try to send him messages, but who knows if they ever get to him

    we have all three houses of government, but the dems are still in charge - he looks defeated most of the time

    there are reports that the reps are slowly turning against him one by one, and they are slinging all this mud, so they can declare him too scandal-ridden, and start impeachment proceedings - when they accomplish that, they have waiting an indictment on something from a decade or more ago - they will succeed in removing him, and prosecuting him unless those with power step up and support him

    how anyone can even THINK to compare what is happening now to the last 8 years is far beyond me

    please find a way to let us know that you have read these comments and that you understand, and know even a small way to start making a difference

    thanks - dorothy

  • N. HEARD

    05/16/2017 07:39 PM

    I have no idea where to get accurate reporting of the news anymore. We now have to search communication from people who we believe are honest and not afraid to stand up for their ideals. Public news sources are way to tainted. These 'discussion' panels are made up of a host, an ex-actor, a weather guy, a former fan of the show 'Branded' from the 60's. who are talking about someone who leaked something, about something or other, who heard it from the guy who overheard from that guy in the brown suit. These are Sad times.

  • Julie m

    05/16/2017 05:28 PM

    Lesson 101 How to catch a snitch. Plant a juicy tidbit with one person. If it gets "out". You fire that one person and any staff in their sphere. Problem solved.

  • Wanda Stephenson

    05/16/2017 04:47 PM

    You are my trusted source and I share your facts and insights, the media and the Democrats will twist information in their favor, my hope is that people will wake up and smell the lies and stop supporting both....

  • Shane Dangerfield

    05/16/2017 04:41 PM

    I agree - press statement to the reporters each day and then let the animals play for a while - toss em scraps of tofu and watch them spew #fakenews like never before.

  • Damion Hillyer

    05/16/2017 04:35 PM

    God is working

  • RB Cox

    05/16/2017 03:05 PM

    How about...not answering questions derived from anonymous sources...

    the silence would be deafening and that is a press conference I would watch.