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White House adds 'Skype' seats in press briefings

Four virtual seats will be available for reporters located outside the nation's capital to ask questions of Team Trump.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will soon take questions from reporters via Skype during his daily press briefings.
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Consider this a virtual olive branch from President Donald Trump to the so-called "dishonest media."

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that starting later this week, his daily press briefings will include four "Skype" seats for reporters who are not in Washington, D.C.

Reporters located 50 miles or more outside of the nation's capital and without a permanent White House press pass can seek access to the seats via the Microsoft-owned popular video and calling service.

Spicer said the idea was to open the briefings to "a diverse group of journalists" across the country who may not have the luxury or resources to participate.

"I think this can benefit us all by giving a platform to voices that are not necessarily based here in the Beltway," he said.

Spicer didn't say how the Skype reporters would be selected or their qualifications.

The Skype move isn't an original idea from the Trump camp, though. NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd suggested it during a Poynter podcast last week.

It's "an opportunity to expand the aperture of the press corps a little bit and use technology to give opportunity to deserving news organizations," he said.

Spicer and Team Trump got off to a rocky start with the media at a press briefing Saturday when Spicer falsely claimed the inauguration was the most crowded in history, according to CBS News. At a visit that same day to the CIA, Trump said this about media coverage of his inauguration: "I always call them the dishonest media, but they treated me nicely."

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published Jan. 23, 1:57 p.m. PT.
Update, 2:22 p.m. PT: Adds comment from NBC's Chuck Todd and background.