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The White House Banned Cameras From The Daily Press Briefing So CNN Sent A Sketch Artist

"Draw me like one of your French correspondents."

Posted on June 23, 2017, at 4:59 p.m. ET

Since the rise of cable news in the 1990s, the White House has held daily televised press briefings for the public.

J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The scandals of the Clinton years kept things interesting, so lots of Americans tuned in to watch press secretary Mike McCurry answer reporters' questions live.

The Bush and Obama administrations continued the practice, and when President Trump took office, press secretary Sean Spicer also offered a daily update from the White House.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Then, without really providing a reason, the White House said cameras would no longer be allowed during some briefings.

White House Press Briefing Will Not Be Broadcast Live

The Atlantic's Rosie Gray asked chief strategist Steve Bannon why cameras were sometimes banned. "Sean got fatter," he texted back.

So what's a TV network to broadcast? One network, CNN, took the extraordinary step of hiring a sketch artist.

The White House banned cameras at its press briefings, so @CNN sent its favorite sketch artist instead…

Scenes from the White House today, via artist Bill Hennessy

Sketch artists are common in federal courtrooms, where cameras are not allowed. CNN asked its regular courtroom artist Bill Hennessy to head to Friday's White House press briefing.

"The idea is to paint a picture for viewers who couldn't be in the room," CNN explained.

At Friday's briefing, Spicer was asked about allowing cameras.

"Some days we'll do it," he said. "I think it's great for us to come out here and have a substantive discussion about policies. I don't think that the be all and end all is whether it's on television or not."

The sketches kinda looked familiar to people.

Amateur sketch of Sean Spicer's "no cameras allowed" White House press briefing


I've obtained footage of today's off-camera press briefing

Draw me like one of your French correspondents. cc @PhilipinDC

was not a supporter of the idea of a courtroom sketch artist in the white house briefing room but this is pretty go…

After the briefing, Spicer did make time to be on camera for one network: Fox News.

After a no-cameras-allowed briefing, Spicer is now doing his second on-camera interview of the day with Fox.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.